On 23 June 2021, the analysis of oil composite samples taken at LACT No. 909 and LACT No. 32 (crude oil quality measurement systems) revealed excessive levels of organochlorine compounds (OCC).
The Samara – Lopatino and Kuybyshev – Unecha-2 oil trunk pipelines had been shut down until the source of the pollution was identified, so during this time consumers had received oil from the volumes accumulated in tank farms. At the same time, samples were taken from all tanks where crude oil received from oil companies was stored by Transneft Volga Region: at the Bavly, Pokhvistnevo, Krotovka, Mukhanovo, Samara-1, Samara-2 oil pumping stations, as well as at the oil blending station.
After the washing of the headers at Samara-1 and Samara-2 oil pumping stations, the oil trunk pipelines were relaunched.
On 24 June 2021, the samples taken from the Mukhanovo PS tanks exceeded the OOC standard value of no more than 6 ppm, reaching it at 94 ppm. Crude oil arrives from the only producer Samaraneftegaz at the Mukhanovo PS (a subsidiary of Rosneft). Samaraneftegaz was immediately notified of the need to test the retained samples from the Mukhanovo CTP of LACT 233 in an external laboratory, in the presence of competent specialists from Transneft Volga Region and Samaraneftegaz.
The SGS Vostok Limited external lab approved by both Transneft Volga Region and Samaraneftegaz revealed that the OCC levels in the crude oil accepted at the Mukhanovo CTP on 20 and 21 June 2021 were well above the standard levels (second shift on 20 June 2021 – 87 ppm; first shift on 21 June 2021 – 46 ppm); following these tests, on 25 June 2021, a decision was made to cease the oil reception from Samaraneftegaz.
A possible reason for contaminated crude coming into the Mukhanovo PS could be the irresponsible acts of the delivering side at the Mukhanovo CTP of LACT 233, whose representatives failed to uncover the non-conformity of their products to the requirements of the EEC technical regulations On Crude Oil Safety Prepared for Transportation and (or) Use in their laboratory.
The alleged volume with a prohibitively high fraction of organic chlorides in the off-spec crude delivered to the tank farms and oil trunk pipelines of Transneft amounts to 350 thousand tonnes.
The above-stated case once again confirms the need to implement the proposals made by Transneft in 2019 regarding the introduction of the crude oil quality additional operating control before it enters the oil trunk pipelines system at all third-party custody transfer points (CTPs), including CTPs owned by major license holders; these proposals have not been put into life so far, because these efforts are undermined by a number of oil firms.
A notice of the incident has been forwarded to: The Interregional Directorate of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resources in Samara and Ulyanovsk Regions, Middle Volga Directorate of the Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service of Russia and to law-enforcement bodies.