Environmental protection

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Oil production process includes environmental protection measures.

Such measures as introduction of dust removal installations and associated petroleum gas utilization reduce emissions into the atmosphere.

However, efficient use of water and application of water conservation measures not only reduce the main volumes of water used by oil production companies mostly for reservoir pressure maintenance but also to prevent pollution of water sites by wastewater. In this regard, the most effective are the construction of wastewater treatment plants and wastewater reuse.

However, the developments of oil fields, especially in the conditions of permafrost, have negative processes.

At the same time, recent studies show that the negative impact of oil production can be mitigated under certain conditions.

Chemical and physical properties of oil have different (not only negative) impact on the environment. The fact is that oil has a high freezing point and viscosity. Oil is heated for delivery through pipelines. Pipes are isolated for this, as otherwise, large heat losses will require many new heating point construction. In addition, high heat leads to thawing of permafrost upper layer, which leads to an increase of vegetation period of plants and a positive effect on the number of animals (especially in years with extreme conditions).

Changes in the state of the permafrost lead to changes of the atmospheric gas state. Increase in the depth of thawing changes the ratio between the anaerobic zone of the soil located above the groundwater level and the area located below the anaerobic zone (oxygen-free). Anaerobic zone is the source of the carbon dioxide, formed during the decomposition of organic matter in the oxygen environment, and this anaerobic zone produces methane.

The greenhouse effect of methane is greater than the effects of equal carbon dioxide amount in about 20 times. Thus, the destruction of the upper layer of permafrost rocks leads to the decrease of methane in the atmosphere that stabilizes the climate of the planet.

Emissions of carbon dioxide, contained in the upper layers of permafrost rocks and absorbed by vegetation and plankton during permafrost melting, greatly reduces the effect of global warming that occurs when the gas, which cannot be absorbed by biota – methane – enters the atmosphere .

In damaged by heavy vehicles areas due to the intensification of microbiological processes an increase in productivity of the secondary (derivative) plant communities is observed

In such areas derived secondary grasslands at least four times higher than the indigenous tundra grasslands due to largest annual increase of above-ground biomass, and their root systems have a pronounced soil-fixing and anti-erosion ability.

The oil industry is one of the main sources of forest fires in the area of pre-tundra open woodlands, when up to 20-40% of the trees die. In woods burned areas vegetation changes, conifers are gradually replaced by small-leave hardwoods. However, the fire has a stimulating effect on biota development.

Restoration of the animal world of the regions, where intensive oil production is carried out, can be affected by changes in the moisture content of the area. Impound ponds formed along the roads, earth works and pipelines are populated by aquatic invertebrates and fish. They become a habitant area for semiaquatic and swimming birds, which number in the anthropogenically altered conditions sometimes higher than in the wild.

This positive (though not that significant) environmental effect should be considered in the environmental assessment.

For oil infrastructure operation heat losses from the pipelines and increased flooding of areas adjacent to the earthworks should be used. For efficient use of heat losses in pre-tundra open woodlands and areas of meadow vegetation along the pipeline, places with higher concentration of animals and plants should be selected. In these areas it is possible to reduce pipe insulation to let heat flows reach the earth’s surface, raise its temperature and increase the growing season. The discharge of warm waters in ponds and streams in cold periods may contribute to the formation of quasi-stationary ice holes, which under certain circumstances can ensure the existence of semiaquatic birds.