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Commission on prevention and response to emergency situations in Russian Federation

The Russian authorities and private OSR companies

Any emergency response in the Russian Federation is organized and performed in the framework of the Integrated National Emergency Prevention and Response System of the Russian Federation (INEPRS), which integrates the state authorities and OSR resources.

Responsibilities for regulating and performing OSR on the national and international level lie with different ministers and agencies in Russia (see Table 1).

Responsibility for the regulatory regime within environmental protection for offshore oil and gas development belongs primarily to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (Minprirody of Russia) and its subordinate bodies: the Federal Supervisory Natural Resources Management Service (Rosprirodnadzor), the Federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency (Rosnedra), the Federal Water Resources Agency (Rosvodresursi) and the Federal Service on Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Roshydromet).

Rosprirodnadzoris responsible for approval of documentation on development of oil and gas fields which is submitted to the state environmental review to ensure that it complies with environmental, normative and legal requirements. Today the documents reviewed by Rosprirodnadzor are comprised entirely of materials from environmental impact assessments (EIA). However, due to the latest amendments to the federal laws which entered into force on the 1st July 2013, OSR plans shall also go through the state environmental review.

The Federal Service for Ecological,Technological,andNuclearOversight(Rostechnadzor)controls industrial safety of oil and gas facilities at the all stages of petroleum development and compliance of the projects documentation with technical and operating standards. The safety control is mainly confined to the control of the technical condition of various equipment, pipelines, techniques of well construction etc.

The Russian Federation Ministry of Transport (Mintrans) viathe Federal Agency of Maritime and River Transport (FAMRT) has established a Functional Subsystem of INEPRS for organizing prevention and response to marine oil spills from vessels and facilities, regardless of their departmental and national affiliation. The “functional subsystem of the INEPRS” integrates governmental bodies which physically perform OSR and have necessary OSR resources and personnel.

FAMRT and the StateMarine Pollution Control, Salvage and Rescue Administration of the Russian Federation (SMPCSA), subordinated to it, bears responsibility for organization of operations for oil spill preparedness and response at sea from vessels and facilities regardless their ownership or nationality. Mintrans of Russia and FARMT are the Russian competent national authorities, responsible for oil spill preparedness and response in accordance with Article 6 of the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation (OPRC) and the Agreement on Cooperation on Marine and Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic (Kiruna, 2013). The Mintrans of Russia is empowered on behalf of the Russian Federation to request assistance from foreign countries or to decide to render requested assistance.

SMPCSA subordinated to FARMT is the Russian state system, intended for the emergency response at sea, including OSR, with the following structure (see also Appendix 1):

  • Federal budget-funded agency “SMPCSA”, that exercises management through the State Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (SMRCC), Moscow;
  • 7 marine rescue co-ordination centres (MRCCs) and 6 marine rescue co-ordination sub-centres (MRSCs), situated in different sea basins;
  • Federal state unitary enterprise “Maritime Rescue Service” (Saint-Petersburg) with regional branches.

The following agencies are charged with day-to-day management of the Functional Subsystem of the INEPRS:

  • Federal level – SMPCSA and SMRCC;
  • Regional level – MRCCs, MRSCs and the dispatching services of Maritime Rescue Service and its branches;
  • Facility level – on-duty/dispatching services of maritime transport organizations, seaports, branches of the Rosmorport federal state unitary enterprise, shipping companies, and other organizations, regardless of departmental and national affiliation, engaged in oil exploration, oil extraction, and oil refining, transport and storage in offshore areas.

The following MRCCs and MRSCs currently operate in the Russian sector of the Arctic: MRCC Murmansk, MRCC Dikson, MRSC Archangelsk, MRSC Tiksi and MRSC Pevek (Figure 6).

Since navigation in the area of MRSC Tiksi and MRSC Pevek is seasonal, these MRSCs operate only during the navigation season (approx. from the mid of July to the end of September).

Currently SMPCSA system is being under reformation. As a result Maritime Rescue Service will merge with SMPCSA and its present regional branches will become the regional branches of SMP- CSA. The reformation is expected to be completed in 2014.

Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (the EMERCOM of Russia) with National Emergency Management Centre (NEMC of the EMERCOM of Russia) regulates and controls civil defence and protect people and areas against emergencies, including acute oil spills at sea. It is the second Russian competent national authority within OSR in accordance with the Agreement on Cooperation on Marine and Oil Pollution Preparedness and Response in the Arctic (Kiruna, 2013).

EMERCOM of Russia is among other things responsible for organizational and methodological administration of OSR planning. EMERCOM’s territorial structure consists of 8 Regional Centres for Civil Defence and Emergencies with 83 Regional Offices of EMERCOM.

The Federal State - Owned Enterprise “Emergency-and-rescue service for conducting underwater special-purpose operations (GOSAKVASPAS) is a structural subdivision of the EMERCOM of Russia. Among its main responsibilities is prevention and response to emergency situations with underwater hazardous objects in the internal waters and territorial seas of the Russian Federation. GOSAKVASPAS has 5 regional branches. Two of them – the Northern branch and the Far-Eastern branch – have responsibilities within OSR in the arctic zone of the Russian Federation. The Northern branch of GOSAKVASPAS can be engaged by the Arkhangelsk Regional Office of EMERCOM to the state OSR operations within its area of responsibility, which includes Severnaya Dvina river’s delta, the White Sea and 12-mile zone of the Barents Sea and the Kara Sea, adjacent to the Russian Federation’s territory. Area of responsibility of the Far-Eastern branch covers 12-mile zone of the Laptev, the Vostochno-Sibirskoye and the Chukchi seas adjacent to the Russian Federation’s territory.

Table 1 The Russian authorities which have responsibilities in relation to OSR at sea.

AuthoritiesMain responsibilities in relation to OSR at sea

Ministry of  Natural Resources and Environment (Minprirody of Russia)

  • Development of the state policy and normative legal regulation within protection of natural resources, including mineral resources
  • Setting of the environmental protection policy
  • Control of use of hydrocarbon resources
Federal Supervisory Natural Resources Management service (Rosprirodnadzor)
  • Responsible for environmental protection policy, and executes control of operators compliance with the requirements of environmental safety
  • Responsible for approval of EIAs in a state environmental review, as well as issuing permits for drilling and waste disposal

Federal Subsoil Resources Management Agency (Rosnedra)

  • Regulation and issuing of licenses for offshore petroleum development
The Federal Service on Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (Roshydromet)
  • Conducts state environmental monitoring of marine waters
The Federal Service for Ecological, Technological, and Nuclear Oversight (Rostechnadzor)
  • Establishes safety regulations and operating practices;
  • Controls compliance with safety requirements and operating standards

Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation (Mintrans of Russia)

  • The competent national authority, responsible for oil pollution incident preparedness and response and empowered on behalf of the Russian Federation to request assistance from other countries or to decide to render requested assistance;
  • Administrative Contact Point in case of acute oil spill;
  • Governmental policy development and normative legal regulation, including in the area of sea transport.
Federal Agency of Maritime and River Transport (FAMRT)
  • The competent national authority subordinated to Mintrans of Russia and charged with organizing the prevention and clean-up of marine oil spills from ships and facilities, regardless of their departmental and national affiliation;
  • Administrative contact point in case of acute oil spill.
State Marine Pollution Control, Salvage and Rescue Administration of the Russian Federation (SMPCSA)
  • State system within FARMT with emergency response functions for maritime transport, including matters involving the prevention and clean-up of marine oil spills.
State Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (SMRCC)
  • Operational contact point in case of OSR (on duty 24 hrs)
Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM of Russia)
  • Development and supervision of the state policy in the field of civil defence, protection of population and territories against emergencies, incl. acute oil spills at sea;
  • Urgent response to emergencies;
  • Administrative contact point in case of acute oil spill.
National Emergency Management Center of the EMERCOM of Russia (NEMC)Operational contact point in case of OSR (on duty 24 hrs)

Organization of OSR at sea in Russia

A three-tiered approach is applied to OSR at sea in Russia. A response tire corresponds with legally stipulated oil spill categories: local emergency – up to 500 tonnes; regional emergency – from 500 to 5 000 tonnes; federal emergency – over 5 000 tonnes.

The first tier is the facility (operator) level. Each potentially hazardous facility must have the necessary quantity of its own or enlisted personnel and equipment to respond to the largest spill it could potentially encounter. OSR is conducted in accordance with an operator’s OSR plan and a corresponding marine port plan (for the authorities of seaports engaged in oil operations).

The second tier is when an oil spill goes beyond the facility/operator level. Then OSR r sources from the regional (sea basin) level and, if necessary, international resources are brought in to contain and clean up the spill. OSR is conducted in accordance with a corresponding regional (sea basin) OSR plan and an international multilateral and bilateral joint OSR plans, if available.

The third tier is when an oil spill goes beyond the regional level and it becomes necessary to en- gage resources from the federal level and/or foreign resources. OSR is conducted in accordance with the Federal oil spill contingency plan and an international multilateral and bilateral joint OSR plans.

The Russian maritime OSR can be roughly divided into two sectors:

  • State response to spills from vessels under the route and spills from unknown sources
  • Private response to spills from offshore oil industry facilities (including vessels involved in oil loading/offloading operations).

State response to spills from ships

Sate response to offshore acute oil spill from any ship, facility or unknown source is performed by the Maritime Rescue Service’s regional branches subordinated to SMPCSA and FAMRT. The ship-owner will provide full recovery of all costs associated with OSR operations.

State OSR resources comprise the personnel, equipment and vessels of the Maritime Rescue Service and its branches, located mainly at the depots in corresponding seaports’ territories with a main focus on oil spill preparedness at hazardous facilities (e.g. oil terminals). Additional storage points for OSR equipment are currently being established at the ports of Tiksi, Dikson, and Pevek and in Provideniya Bay.

Emergency response in the western sector of the Arctic (the Barents, the Pechora, the White and the Kara seas) within the Russian Federation’s zone of responsibility is provided by the personnel and resources of the Northern and Arkhangelsk branches of the Maritime Rescue Service. Emergency response in the eastern sector of the Arctic (the Laptevs, the Vostochno-Sibirskoe and the Chukotka seas) within the Russian Federation’s zone of responsibility is provided by Primorskiy branch of the Maritime Rescue Service.

To maintain preparedness in the Arctic regions not covered by existing personnel and resources, icebreakers are used during their period of operations in the Arctic. The icebreakers are outfitted with OSR personnel and equipment.

Private response to spills from the offshore oil industry

In Russia there is no organization such as NOFO which integrates all the necessary private OSR resources and normally takes a lead of OSR on behalf of the operator. At the same time operator in Russia has a total responsibility for OSR at its facility and is obliged to have its own OSR personnel and equipment or hire certified professional OSR teams. The latter represents a usual practice since the maintenance of the own OSR resources is quite costly. Operator must then make a commercial agreement on oil spill preparedness and response services with either a state OSR unit such as regional branches of Maritime Rescue Service of SMPCSA, or a private OSR company which must be certified for OSR in accordance with the same state legal procedure and fulfil the same requirements as state OSR organizations. Any OSR company, state or private, must be certified for response to a maximum possible volume of a spill from a particular facility and have necessary resources and personnel to stop oil spreading within 4 hours and combat the spill. The OSR operations shall be performed in accordance with the operator’s OSR plan using operator’s own OSR personnel and equipment or state/private OSR resources engaged commercially.

If a size of an oil spill exceeds capabilities of operator to respond to it in accordance with existing OSR plan, operator can call for additional OSR personnel and equipment through INEPRS, which integrates national OSR resources (287-FZ, §1). In this case regional (basin) plans or the federal plan for spill prevention and response are activated, attracting resources of Maritime Rescue Service of SMPCSA and its branches. Operators stay responsible for the oil spill and its consequences and costs associated with use of additional OSR resources are reimbursed by operator.

Division of responsibility in response to offshore oil spills 

When shuttle tankers are used for oil transportation from the fields, the division of responsibilities between the operator, state and a shipping company for response to accidental spills from tankers and associated costs can be a controversial matter. There are no official rules in Russia which legally clarify it.

In practice, when an oil tanker is moored to a facility/a terminal and is included in general operational scheme, operator has a total responsibility for any response operations and costs. If an oil spill occurs when an oil tanker is running or maneuvering, it will be a responsibility of the ship-owner independently of the distance from a facility/a terminal.

However in case of any disputes regarding this issue the investigation of the accident will be conducted to find the guilty party. Nevertheless the national OSR authorities (FAMRT and EMERCOM) demand offshore operators to consider possible oil spills from the largest oil tanker involved into the transportation of their oils. 

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