Norilsk Nickel ordered to pay US$1.9 billion for enviro damages

MOSCOW – The court’s decision to collect 146.2 billion rubles ($1.9 bln) from Norilsk Nickel as compensation for environmental damage from fuel spills at TPP-3 in Norilsk should be a warning to other subsoil users, Alexei Knizhnikov, head of the environmental responsibility program for business of the World Fund for the Protection of Animals (WWF) Russia told TASS on Friday.

According to WWF, this is an unprecedented claim both in financial terms and in terms of a tonne of spilled oil product that entered the water environment. “Comparable to what BP [British oil and gas] paid for the accident in the Gulf of Mexico,” Knizhnikov explained.

At the end of May, one of the fuel tanks at TPP-3, owned by Norilsk Nickel’s subsidiary, collapsed due to subsidence of the storage supports. As a result, more than 20,000 tonnes of oil products were released from the reservoir. Natural Resource Usage service has estimated the environmental damage at about 148 bln rubles. However, Norilsk Nickel did not agree with the calculations. According to the company’s estimates, the damage is 21.4 bln rubles ($287 mln).

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