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The Government has approved new rules for preventing and remedying spills of oil and oil products

13.01.2021
9 min read

Natalia Stenina
Yulia Yurchenko
Pepeliaev Group advises that Resolution No. 2451 of the Russian Government dated 31 December 2020 (the "Resolution") has been published on the official legal portal. The Resolution[1]clarifies the obligations of certain persons in connection with possible spills of oil and oil products.

We would like to remind you of the coming into force, on 1 January 2021, of Federal Law No. 207-FZ[2], which has introduced new obligations for persons engaged in the extraction, production, storage and sale of raw hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon products.

Pursuant to the law, the Russian Government has adopted the Resolution, which determines who is responsible for developing a plan for preventing and remedying spills of oil and oil products (the “PPRSO”), lays down requirements for the PPRSO, and regulates the procedure for conducting comprehensive training on the liquidation of spills of oil and oil products (“Spills”), among other things.

With above Resolution being adopted, starting from 1 January 2021, certain resolutions of the Russian Government that companies used to be guided by in the event of Spills have now been repealed, namely Resolution No. 613 “On emergency measures to prevent and remedy accidental spills of oil and oil products” dated 21 August 2000 and Resolution No. 240 “On the procedure for organising measures to prevent and remedy spills of oil and oil products in the territory of the Russian Federation” dated 15 April 2002.

The main terms of the Resolution

The Resolution introduces the term remedying a Spill, which stands for the process aimed at locating a Spill, collecting spilt oil and oil products, terminating the effect of characteristic dangerous factors, ruling out a repeat pollution, as well as saving the lives and preserving health of the public, reducing the environmental damage and material losses[3]
 
One of the steps towards remedying a Spill is locating the Spill. The purpose of this procedure is to stop the expansion of the spilt or spilling oil (oil products) across the surface of the ground or water facility by installing barriers, conducting excavation work or using special equipment[4]

The persons responsible for developing the PPRSO

The Resolution has approved criteria for determining facilities in which operators must develop the PPRSO.

These include facilities intended for conducting geological studies, the exploration and production of raw hydrocarbons, as well as for the processing (production), transportation, storage, and sale of raw hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon products (“Facilities”) depending on the maximum computed volume (the “MCV”)[5]   of the Spill[6]:
  • The MCV of the Spill for Facilities that are located (operated) on the surface bodies of water (including within the exclusion zones of such facilities), save for seas and the separate parts of them, constitutes 0.5 tons and above;
  • The MCV of the Spill for Facilities that are located on the land territories of the Russian Federation constitutes 3 tons and above.

Requirements for the contents of a PPRSO

The Resolution regulates in detail the contents of a PPRSO governing the remedy of a possible Spill and provides that a PPRSO must include, among other things, the following information[7]:
  • information about potential sources of Spills;
  • the MCV of Spills;
  • a list of the immediate actions of the production facility personnel in the event of a Spill;
  • a calculation of the time, effort and means required to localise and liquidate the MCV of the Spill;
  • action plans for emergency services and/or teams that have been formed and duly certified to remedy Spills;
  • information about the volume and cost of the work for each measure provided for by the PPRSO;
  • calendar plans of the emergency actions aimed at remedying the MCV of the Spills.

Comprehensive training aimed at confirming the operating company’s readiness to localise and remedy Spills

For an operating company to prove that it is ready to localise and remedy Spills, it needs to conduct comprehensive training (“Comprehensive Training”) on how to localise and remedy the MCV of a Spill[8]

For the first time, Comprehensive Training must be conducted after the PPRSO is approved by the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources (abbreviated in Russian as “Rosprirodnadzor”) and subsequently at least once in three years[9]

To arrange for Comprehensive Training, at least 20 business days before the start of the training, a company must send a notification of the conduct of Comprehensive Training to the territorial body of the Ministry of Emergencies for the relevant constituent entity of the Russian Federation where the Facility is located. The notification must be accompanied by a plan for conducting the training, which is based on the PPRSO[10]

If the notification and the plan for conducting Comprehensive Training do not have drawbacks, the territorial body of the Ministry of Emergencies must confirm the date, time and place of the Comprehensive Training and form a commission[11] that will assess whether the operating company is ready to localise and remedy Spills[12]

In the course of Comprehensive Training, the following actions and processes, among others, must be perfected: a conditional Spill alert; the mobilisation of people and technology to the place of the conditional Spill; the arrangement of a temporary storage and transportation of the collected oil and/or oil products and oil-contaminated waste[13]
 
The decision to recognise Comprehensive Training as satisfactory is taken by a simple majority of the commission’s votes[14]. The Resolution also lists the grounds on which the commission may recognise Comprehensive Training as unsatisfactory[15]

The commission’s report on the results of Comprehensive Training

In its report (the “Report”) on the results of comprehensive training the commission concludes whether or not the operating company is ready to localise and remedy a Spill. If the company is not recognised as ready the commission must set out a reasoning behind its conclusion, list the drawbacks of the Comprehensive Training and offer recommendations for eliminating them[16]

Once the drawbacks are eliminated, the operating company must organise Comprehensive Training again[17].

The operating company may submit justified objections to the Report within 10 days after receiving it, and the commission also has 10 days[18] to study these objections. If the commission agrees with the objections, it adopts a decision to issue a new Report[19].

Notification on approving a PPRSO

A notification of the approval of the PPRSO together with a copy of the approved PPRSO and the Report on an electronic storage device[20] is sent by the operating company[21] to the relevant regional bodies of the Ministry of Emergencies, Rosprirodnadzor, Rostekhnadzor[22], as well as Rosmorrechflot[23].

Informing about a spill of oil or oil products

With respect to each fact of a spill of oil or oil products the operating company must immediately send a notification using an electronic document management system and specifying information about the Facility, the type, scale and circumstances of the Spill, measures being taken, the resources engaged and means being used; the notification is sent to the addresses of[24]:
  • the relevant regional bodies of the Ministry of the Interior, Rosprirodnadzor and Rostekhnadzor – through their crisis management centres;
  • the executive bodies of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and local governments on whose territory the Spill has occurred – through their unified duty dispatcher services;
  • the administration of the inland waterway basin[25].

Attracting additional resources and means to remedy a Spill

If the MCV specified in the PPRSO is exceeded and it is it impossible to liquidate the spill on the basis of the PPRSO, additional resources are engaged upon the operating company’s request[26] and additional forces and means are outsourced from the unified state system for preventing and liquidating emergencies[27].

What to think about and what to do

We recommend companies that are involved in handling raw hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon products to study the Resolution carefully and assess whether their Facilities are in line with the criteria established in it. If they qualify, it would be prudent to proceed to ensure compliance with the new requirements immediately, beginning with developing a PPRSO.

Help from your adviser

Pepeliaev Group’s lawyers are ready to advise you on issues associated with performing the new requirements for companies engaged in the extraction of raw hydrocarbons or the production and circulation of hydrocarbon products, and to assist in dealing with supervisory authorities should any contentious situations arise when the provisions of the Resolution are implemented.



[1] Resolution No. 2451 of the Russian Government dated 31 December 2020 “On approving the Rules for organising measures to prevent and liquidate spills of oil and oil products in the territory of the Russian Federation, save for internal sea waters of the Russian Federation and the territorial sea of the Russian Federation, and on invalidating certain regulations of the Russian Government”.
[2] Federal Law No. 207-FZ “On amending article 46 of the Federal Law ‘On environmental protection’ and individual items of Russian legislation” dated 13 July 2020.
[3] Clause 2 of the Rules for organising measures to prevent and remedy spills of oil and oil products in the Russian Federation, save for internal sea waters of the Russian Federation and the territorial sea of the Russian Federation (the “Rules”).
[4] Clause 2 of the Rules.
[5] The procedure for calculating the MCV of the Spill is regulated by clause 7 of the Rules and depends on the type of the Facility. For instance, the MCV for railway stock constitutes 50% of the total volume of tanks filled with oil (oil products) that the stock carries.
[6] Clause 4 of the Rules.
[7] Clause 5 of the Rules.
[8] Clause 8 of the Rules.
[9] Clause 8 of the Rules.
[10] Clause 10 of the Rules.
[11] The Chairman of the commission is the representative of a territorial body of the Ministry of Emergencies. Among other members of the commission are representatives of territorial bodies of Rosprirodnadzor, the Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service (abbreviated in Russian as “Rostekhnadzor”), the Federal Marine and River Transport Agency (abbreviated in Russian as “Rosmorrechflot”), as well as of state authorities and local governments of constituent entities of the Russian Federation where the Facility is located.
[12] Clause 13 of the Rules.
[13] Clause 16 of the Rules.
[14] Clause 17 of the Rules.
[15] Ibid
[16] Clause 19 of the Rules.
[17] Clause 20 of the Rules.
[18] Both the timeframes are calculated in business days.
[19] Clauses 21-23 of the Rules.
[20] Clause 24 of the Rules.
[21] Within 14 calendar days from the date when the PPRSO is approved.
[22] The regional body of Rostekhnadzor performing surveillance over dangerous production facilities, for which the PPRSO has been approved.
[23] If the Facility is located within inland waterways.
[24] Clauses 25-26 of the Rules.
[25] When oil and oil products are spilled in internal waterways from ships and from sea and river transportation facilities.
[26] Clause 27 of the Rules.
[27] The Regulation on the unified state system for preventing and liquidating emergencies approved by Resolution No. 794 of the Russian Government dated 30 December 2003. 
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