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Russian authorities seek $2 billion in damages from ‘Norilsk Nickel’ over Arctic fuel spill

Russia’s regulatory agency for natural resources, Rosprirodnadzor, has assessed the damage from the massive diesel fuel spill in the Russian Arctic at 148 billion rubles (approximately $2.06 billion).

Rosprirodnadzor has already sent claims to the Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company, a Norilsk Nickel subsidiary, demanding voluntary compensation for damages to the environment.

Norilsk Nickel told Interfax that they have yet to receive the papers, but promised to comment after the document has arrived.

At the end of May, a large-scale fuel spill at another Nornickel subsidiary caused massive environmental damage in the Russian Arctic. Approximately 21,000 tons of diesel fuel leaked out of a damaged reservoir at the Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company’s Thermal Power Plant No. 3 in Norilsk, spreading into nearby rivers and the surrounding soil. The accident in Norilsk is the second largest fuel spill in Russia’s history, after the 94,000 ton oil spill that took place in the country’s northern Komi Republic in 1994.

Norilsk Nickel’s net profit for 2019 was $6 billion, meaning Rosprirodnadzor is asking for the equivalent of a third of the company’s profits as compensation for the spill.

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