THE ZAPOLYARYE - PURPE trunk oil pipeline runs through an area with an arctic climate (Yamalo-Nenets autonomous region), which is characterized by a prolonged, harsh, winter and relatively short but warm summer. In these conditions, the technology for transporting crude hydrocarbons necessarily includes preliminary heating to +60°C of the high-viscosity oil mix which is to be pumped. However, in the case of damage to the pipeline system, a ‘hot’ oil spill could cause the deformation of permafrost soils, as could subsequent actions to deal with the emergency situation and its consequences. This deformation would lead to irreparable damage to the Arctic environment and may result in more accidents on the trunk pipeline. In order to develop protective measures, the sections of the pipeline which are potentially most dangerous must be identified; the possible volume of an oil spill in the case of an accident should be calculated; and the route it would spread should be predicted.
This article examines the most dangerous possible incident, where the main factor affecting the spread and accumulation of spilled oil would be the topography of the area. A guillotine rupture of the pipeline was chosen as the event triggering the spill, because this type of failure would cause the greatest volume of transported liquid to be spilled. Modelling allows the furthest places where the liquid could drain and accumulate to be assessed. In order to exclude the threat of oil entering bodies of water, the necessity of constructing permanent barriers is indicated, which would prevent the spill from spreading. In order to save time in mobilizing technology and equipment to the site of the emergency situation, the creation of base stations is recommended: technically equipped bases, which would be located in the immediate vicinity of the most vulnerable sections of the pipeline route.
The systematic approach described in this article allows us to obtain the fullest and most realistic picture of events in the case of an accident on the trunk pipeline. These results may be used to develop protective measures aimed at minimising damage and at reducing as much as possible the impact of a possible oil spill on the fragile natural balance of the Arctic. The results may also be relevant when planning new trunk pipelines and reconstructing existing pipelines, and for setting-up a system of protective structures.
How to Cite
Arcic, pipeline, accident prevention