Russia Spills 5 Million Tons of Oil, Equivalent to 6 BP Disasters, Every Year

Marine Photo Bank via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Russia, it turns out, sucks at more things than not killing journalists. It also sucks at not spilling tons of oil into pristine environments every year. A new study shows that the oil-rich nation spills 5 million tons of oil every year. To put that into perspective, that's the equivalent of having a Deepwater Horizon-scale oil disaster every two months. And it accounts for a full 1% of the nation's output.

That's just bad business.

The AP has more (via Grist): Crumbling infrastructure and a harsh climate combine to spell disaster in the world's largest oil producer, responsible for 13 percent of global output. Oil, stubbornly seeping through rusty pipelines and old wells, contaminates soil, kills all plants that grow on it and destroys habitats for mammals and birds. Half a million tons every year get into rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean, the government says, upsetting the delicate environmental balance in those waters ...

Oil spills in Russia are less dramatic than disasters in the Gulf of Mexico or the North Sea, more the result of a drip-drip of leaked crude than a sudden explosion. But they're more numerous than in any other oil-producing nation including insurgency-hit Nigeria, and combined they spill far more than anywhere else in the world, scientists say.

And don't think this sort of thing will be confined to Russia. It's yet another legacy to look forward to as oil wells and pipelines around the world continue to age, rust, and break down. There will literally be tens of thousands of oily faucets leaking into various environments round the globe, and little incentive to properly reseal them.

However, these oily wastelands may, if we continue to ignore climate change and the limits of resource consumption, one day become popular sites for Mad Max-style marauders to fill up their death-mobiles before continuing their campaigns of pillage and plunder. So there's that.

Tags: Oil | Oil Spill | Russia

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