Togliattiazot Danger: Ammonia Pipeline Disaster in Southern Russia

Togliattiazot claims it is not only the world’s largest producer of ammonia and other chemical products and patented processes, but one of the world’s most forward-thinking employers, with a vigorous investment in employee benefits, education, health and housing. The company exports its products to more than 120 countries worldwide with export share equaling to 85%. Togliattiazot is also a major investor in the infrastructure of Tolyatti (Togliatti in English), the town in which its plants are located. The CEO and management team of Togliattiazot is Makhlai Family — Vladimir and Sergei Makhlays.Togliattiazot Plant, Togliatti City, Russia

The story of the conflict between shareholders of Togliattiazot (ToAZ) in the TV show of 5th Channel, Saint-Petersburg

“Moment of Truth” – the author’s program of journalist Andrei Karaulov in which famous writers, actors, artists and politicians, experts from different fields to discuss topical for Russia topics: corruption in the higher echelons of power, degeneration of the nation, drug addiction among young people, a decline in fertility, and many others.

In Togliattiazot we see what Russian country faced in the freewheeling 1990s. The largest company in Russia, and in Europe, which is producing ammonia and world’s largest ammonia pipeline directing product from Togliatti to the sea port of Odessa, and from there it is shipped to the United States. The main buyer for this production. There goes the product. However, the money is deposited in Switzerland, billions of rubles are deposited.

The origins of Togliattiazot conflict

Togliattiazot is owned by the Makhlai family. They are hiding in London and in the United States; father and son. The former CEO, Korolev, is there, too. They are hiding from the criminal case. When was it initiated? A few years ago.

The family captured almost all of the nitrogen in the 1990s, astute and lucky guys. And there’s no way to take them down, because such issues are handled by the Board of Directors, which comprises of all their people. They are in London. Nobody watches the pipeline.

Recently there was an accident on the ammonia pipeline — five tons of ammonia from a pipeline exploded, probably with age. Nobody watches the pipeline. The company Transammiak which operates the plant is an affiliate of Togliattiazot. Roman Pukalov, Expert of environmental organization “Green Patrol” told that the accident occurred in the Voronezh region, not far from the border with the Tambov region.

Once every ten years the company conducts inspections of the pipelines. And until now there had been no accident. But there is always a first time for everything, and so it happened. Roman Pukalov said he is very grateful to the mayor of the village Narodnoye in Voronezh Region, who was the only brave man to make the decision to evacuate residents. He was the only one to run from door to door at nine o’clock in the evening on Sunday. If the mayor of this village had not run around waving his arms, then people would have died. He single-handedly made the decision to evacuate residents. The gas is most hazardous. It is liquid and is transported by the ammonia pipeline. It is poisonous. Imagine if you inhaled ammonia and in a second you would come to your senses. However, if you breathe in ammonia for at least a minute, your lungs get burned. Moreover, if you stayed under this cloud for one hour, there would be 100 percent deaths.

Accident in Ternovo district

In fact, the disaster struck at five o’clock in the evening. If it had happened at midnight or early in the morning when the village was already asleep, the sleeping inhabitants would not have been saved. An automatic warning system does not exist. The cloud would have quietly crept over the village and covered the sleeping residents. The distance from the scene of the accident to the first residential building is 2.8 kilometres and the cloud moved in that direction.

Workers are closing Togliatti-Odessa Pipeline

Accident on Togliattiazot site

As soon as the mayor was informed of the smell spreading, he immediately arrived on the site. It is three kilometres from the administration, from the place where he lives. He was not frightened. Once he realised that it was a serious matter, the ammonia smell, he began knocking on doors, screaming. Immediately, he called the Emergency Squad. The person who stayed up watching the livestock in the night was a young guy. When the milkmaids came in the morning, he fainted. He was taken to hospital and diagnosed with burning lungs. Well, it was much farther away than the houses that were very close to the accident site. Just two hundred metres away in the first river Sukhoi Karochan the fish surfaced. Absolutely, everything in the whole river in this area is dead.

Prosecutors and inspection

The Director General of the pipeline company said that it was the safest line, but the pipeline had been built during Soviet times. For the last 10 years, despite the official statements of Togliattiazot that they had been investing in environmental protection, starting with the city of Togliatti and then in all their facilities, in fact, nothing had happened. This is confirmed by the resolutions of Rospotrebnadzor and courts. The pipeline consistency should be checked every 10 years, think about it! In Europe, for example, it’s once every two months.

Totally during the incident there were 770 people evacuated. Representatives of Transammiak company did not appear on the site at the day of the incident. Company’s representative appeared in the village a week later. There was accident victim: the boy. His family is so poor. The shepherd. Village mayor asked Transammiak representatives to voluntarily resolve the issue of compensation and they responded with no.

Neutrolizing the accident on Togliattiazot pipe

Works on Togliatt-Odessa pipeline

The alarm at the section of pipeline is as old as dirt. It did not work. Mayor evacuated the people, and then it worked. Besides as the result of the accident the city got a poisoned river and groundwaters. Everyone understands that they flow where they want.

Yet again, local authorities have a criminal case against the management of Togliattiazot, it was the 10th submitted criminal case which has not been initiated. Green Patrol confirms that on Monday morning when their public inspection patrol was at the site, there was no criminal case. Roman Pulakov personally saw the representatives of Rosprirodnadzor, the Department called Rybinspektor there. The prosecutor was not on the site.

What is going to happen next

It seems that Transammiak has not going to meet the people, calm them down, to explain something. They are afraid of people. But they do not fear the law. So far, they have not had a criminal case and this is the most incredible.

Workers neutralize ammonia spill

Workers neutralize ammonia spill in Ternovo

The Voronezh catastrophe is a disaster spreading far outside the Voronezh region, not just a village. Ammonia fell on black soil. It may take for all the consequences of the accident to go away – fifty years. Two generations. Local attorneys have not initiated the criminal case as they are performing an inspection.


Togliattiazot which produced its first tons of ammonia back in 1979 can be named the second largest ammonia producer in the world. Company’s main asset is the plant in Samara region which produces various mineral fertilizers: ammonia, carbamide and carbamide-formaldehyde concentrate (CFC). Over 4 thousand employees are working at the main production site. Togliattiazot is the only company in the world capable to produce annually more than 3 million tones of ammonia. The factory exports its products to more than 120 countries all over the world.