Transammiak may be fined for 855 mln. roubles for ecological accident in Ternovo

First estimates of the costs of ammonia pipeline leakage which occured on June, 21 in Ternovo district of Russia equaling to 856,2 mln. roubles. The amount of damage caused to the fields, is not less than 855 mln. rubles, while the damage to the river Sukhoi Karachan, where thousands of fishes were killed by the accident is around 1.2 mln. rubles.

On September, 30 the Investigative Committie of the Russian Federation in the Voronezh region began its investigation into the leak of ammonia and gave this preliminary estimates. The investigators already confirmed that the main cause of the accident is poor-quality of performance of the repair works on the pipeline. As follows from the ministry’s statement, “a leak of liquid ammonia from the flange of the ball valve was due to poor quality of repair work on the pipeline, carried out in May 2014”.

The court of Rossoshanski district has already fined Transammiak company with the penalty of 100 000 roubles, ordered to eliminate the defects which caused the ammonia leakage and equip the pipeline with the modern control system. But Transammiak challenges the fine and demands to end up the administrative pressure. Although it is difficult to imagine who, if not the owner of the pipeline, should be responsible for its serviceability.

The situation with the leakage on the ammonia pipeline was taken under the personal control by the governor of Voronezh Region Alexei Gordeyev. Head of the region discussed the incident at a meeting of the regional government. The region prepared a lawsuit against the owner of the company to guarantee that all costs incurred are reimbursed. They also made the appropriate filings to the General Prosecutor and the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation, to see whether the owners of the company would pay for the accident and its consequences. The governor pointed out that people live in constant threat, not knowing who is responsible for ecological crisis in the region.

Transammiak, which performs as the operator of the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline belongs to the very same family of ousted Russian oligarchs Vladimir and Sergei Makhlai who share the ownership with Swiss offshore company «Ameropa AG» and «Nitrochem Distribution». Their main asset, ammonia plant Togliattiazot is under shareholders conflict and both Makhlays, former general director of Togliattiazot Evgeny Korolev, as well as the owners of these Swiss companies are prosecuted for fraud in a large scale in the implementation of export transactions. All five defendants are in the international wanted list of Interpol. In September of this year Sergey Makhlai and Evgeny Korolev were removed from the Board of Directors of Togliattiazot by court’s decision.