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Gazprom Neft to Spend $446M on Cleanup

Gazprom Neft is investing 14 billion rubles ($446 million) in cleaning up the Moscow Oil Refinery, the company said Thursday.

Spending in the period from 2010 to 2013 includes purchases of mechaniсal scrubbers, upgrades of bitumen and sulphur production facilities, and a cleanup of oil-contaminated land, Interfax reported.

Plant managers say the cleanup will leave 500 hectares of the Kapotnya district, on the city’s southeastern edge, pollution-free.

During a visit to the site by Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Thursday, the company said that new closed-treatment units due to go into operation in the third quarter would raise the quality of wastewater treatment sixfold and slash harmful emissions by 97 percent.

The refinery on Moscow’s southeastern outskirts is also set to launch a new bitumen production unit, producing up to 1.7 million tons of bitumen a year.

Last month, the Federal Inspection Service for Natural Resources Use fined the company 150,000 rubles ($4,700) for failure to comply with environmental protection laws. Meanwhile, Moscow prosecutors lodged a request with the Lyublinsky District Court to order Gazprom Neft to clean up pollution at the refinery.

The moves came after inspectors found “excessively high concentrations” of oil products both on the property of the refinery and in the surrounding area.

In May, the agency said residents of the Kapotnya district were breathing some of the most polluted air in the city after an investigation into complaints about smells from the refinery revealed unusually high levels of hydrogen sulfide.

The Moscow refinery turns out about 10 million tons of oil products a year and supplies about 40 percent of Moscow’s petroleum.

Gazprom Neft and Total are performing an experiment to test polymer-asphalt-binder production technology at the Moscow Oil Refinery as part of a possible joint venture, the refinery’s executive director, Vladimir Galkin, told journalists, Interfax reported.

“As part of the experiment, we exported a pilot batch of product to Poland in order to test Total’s modified asphalt production technology. Later, we poured this asphalt on the Crimea Highway. Now this covering is being tested,” he said.

Galkin said Gazprom Neft and Total signed a protocol of intentions for the potential creation of a polymer-asphalt-binder production joint venture at the Moscow Oil Refinery. Gazprom Neft has experience in producing polymer-asphalt binder at the Omsk Oil Refinery, but the technology at that facility is based on Russian standards, whereas the company would like to adopt Total technologies as well, he said.

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