TNK-BP ‘Beyond Penitence’

Oct 09, 2005

Russia possesses exceptional energy resources, which are located largely in Siberia. This vast terretory dominating Eurasia has 68% of the Russian oil and possesses some of the world’s most important nature reserves.

A Russian-British joint venture was launched in September 2003 creating TNK-BP, between British Petroleum (BP) and Alpha Group, and in conjunction of the holding Access/Renova (AAP). This year, despite an enormous oil spillage dominating the Samotlor region, TNK-BP still has plans to increase the volume of its investments in 2006 by 25 percent as compared to this year, which will amount to $2.5 billion. There doesn’t seem to be any investment however to clean up lakes of crude oil spreading nearly 4000 sq kilometers across Western Siberia.

Back in May 2004, a series of articles were released in the press uncovering that TNK-BP may have to halt pumping their oil at the Samotlor field, one of the largest in the world. TNK-BP was accused of not having a project development plan approved by the Russian government. The Natural Resource Ministry said that ‘the main issue for TNK-BP is whether there were serious violations regarding deadlines and volumes for geological exploration work. The Ministry added that TNK-BP was systematically not observing the geological exploration schedule and that this was brought to their attention in 2002 and 2003. The government added that their license could be withdrawn which is otherwise valid until 2013. Apparently, all large oil companies are guilty of similar violations, however the TNK-BP’s were more serious.

Federal Energy Agency Director Sergei Oganesyan expressed concerns that growth in oil production is being accompanied by a significant number of violations. “Today, unfortunately, everybody is blinded by large oil production and the very high prices. The corresponding state bodies should be ready to take very serious action. At a number of fields, extraction by large companies is exceeding norm 100%-200%, which is inadmissible. The same companies have an enormous idle well stock, which amounts to 40%-60%,” he said. In another interview in Moscow, Oganesyan told Bloomberg ‘the law must work, and if a company violates a development plan, their license must be withdrawn.

Nevertheless, the oil extraction in 2005 was announced to grow by 6.5 percent as compare to 2004, and this exceeded the average sector figures in the Russian oil industry. The company’s own data shows that at the beginning of September 2005, the average daily production amounted to 1.62 million barrels, as compared to with 1.2 million barrels a day, registered in August 2003, when the Russian-British oil giant was created (, 10/11/2005).

It’s clear that TNK-BP completely disregarded the government’s warnings and continued to develop Samotlor without a technical plan whilst using the state owned pipelines Transnef. There is no doubt that the overexploitation of oil led to this ecological disaster. Despite this catastrophic environmental damage in the region earlier this year, with 3780 sq km of the crude oil spread throughout Western Siberia, BP is not interested in cleaning up their act. Instead BP has launched a series of new eco-friendly ad campaigns, smearing the truth and suppressing any news ‘leakage’ about their colossal oil spillage in Siberia.

Ana Lekaj


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