NPS Climate Change Response NPS Photo (C.Ciancibelli)

Melting permafrost in record heat in Arctic damages Russia’s oil & gas network causing oil spill

by Chanan Bos, Clean Technica


Many of Russia’s oil wells are built on permafrost, a layer of frozen soil, sand, and gravel. This permafrost is now melting quickly, jeopardizing the country’s oil supplies and accelerating climate change

  • The permafrost these oil wells are built on is considered contiguous, meaning it stays frozen for thousands of years. However, this year-round permafrost is melting for the first time at a rapid pace that scientists didn’t anticipate for another 30 to 80 years
  • The melting of permafrost releases carbon dioxide (CO2) trapped in the ice. The releasing of carbon can heat up more permafrost, resulting in more CO2 being released into the atmosphere
  • In the Siberian city of Norilsk, a storage tank of diesel owned by Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Co. collapsed, spilling 6,000 tons of oil into the ground and 15,000 tons into local bodies of water
  • The collapse is attributed to the failure of the supporting posts of the storage tank, likely due to the melting of permafrost
  • This has led Vladimir Putin to declare a state of emergency while the energy company involved is facing a criminal case of negligence for not reporting the spill 

The transition to 100% clean energy and electrification is a key to achieving the goals of The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform.

Read more: