Support The Moscow Times!

Watchdog Seeks Charges Against Gazprom Neft Refinery Over Moscow Stench

An employee walks up the stairs at the Gazprom Neft oil refinery in Moscow.

Russia's environmental watchdog is seeking to bring charges against a Gazprom-owned refinery in Moscow after a powerful smell enveloped the capital earlier this month.

The Rosprirodnadzor agency filed its case in a Moscow city court, accusing the Gazpromneft refinery of releasing "hazardous chemicals into the air," court spokesman Oleg Shassayev said Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported.

If found guilty at a court hearing scheduled for Dec. 4, the refinery's operations could be suspended by up to 90 days, the report said.

The powerful stench felt in several Moscow districts early this month led to warnings from officials that Muscovites should stay indoors and keep their windows shut.

While officials and media reports initially attributed the fumes to an accident at the Gazpromneft refinery on the city's southern outskirts, the company denied that any such accident took place.

Further adding to the confusion, the Emergency Situations Ministry determined the fumes to be hydrogen sulfide, but the Federal Inspection Service for Natural Resources Use said they were from a different chemical — isopropyl benzene, commonly known as cumene.

A spokesperson for the refinery said that Rosprirodnadzor inspectors found no traces of hydrogen sulfide discharges while conducting tests on its territory, but that it did register elevated levels of isopropyl benzene and another chemical, propanal.

The spokesman added that the company would dispute the inspectors had found traces of isopropyl benzene and propanal as these chemicals are not used on site, Interfax reported.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more