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Caspian environment polluted by oil pipeline leak
Wednesday, August 29, 2001

ITAR-TASS News Agency, by Viktor Kurganov

Despite word from Makhachkala, that the Caspian sea was no longer threatened with an oil leak pollution, oil has flown into the river Achesa and the Caspian sea, Itar-Tass learned from the duty officer at the Russian fuel-and- energy sector headquarters.

Sources in the ministry for Emergency Situations of the Republic of Daghestan earlier told Itar-Tass that no more than 20 cubic metres of oil had leaked out of the damaged pipeline and no more than one cubic meter got into the Caspian sea.

The duty officer in Moscow said a considerable amount of oil had run out of the damaged pipeline by 02.25 Moscow time on Wednesday when specialists located a 50 X 850 mm hole supposedly made in the pipeline by an explosion the sound of which had been heard in the area at 22.50 on Tuesday. Some of the oil had floated downstream into the Caspian sea. The Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline which pumps oil from the Caspian sea towards a Black-sea oil terminal had developed the leak in its section located 40 kilometers south of Makhachkala, capital of Daghestan.

Teams of rescuers and repairmen have been working hard since to prevent the spill from reaching the Caspian sea coast off which special oil-collecting ships took position earlier.

At present, the oil sleek in the sea has been sealed off to check its further spread.

The Moscow source said a number of versions are in the work, including an act of subversion, although no objective evidence has yet been found to confirm or disprove it.

A source in Daghestan also declared earlier that no fresh dents had been found on the pipeline to indicate that it had been damaged by terrorists or subversives.

Another source insisted that a sizable hole in the ground resulting from a blast was found later but the Moscow source said the crack in the pipe had been found in the place where the pipeline was suspended above the river Achesa in Daghestan's Karabulakh district.


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