August 31, 2011
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№ 6 (June 2011)

Fuel-Energy Sites to Obtain “Security Passports”

   As energy facilities in Russia remain the most vital part of the country’s economy, Russia will soon have one single law covering all of the expects of energy security and criminalizing neglect within the industry to take security precautions.

By Alexander Bratersky

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   According to legislation on the security of the fuel and energy sector which is currently pending in the Russian parliament, the government will be responsible for drafting security measures to be taken by the energy sector.

   Security measures for those facilities would be divided accordingly to the lowest, medium and highest levels of security, depending on the facility. Each owner of a fuel and energy facility will be required to obtain a “security passport” describing the safety measures taken by his company.

   Owners of energy facilities with the high levels of security will be required to insure them from potential acts of terrorism.

   Under separate legislation sent to the Russian parliament in April, the presidential administration also proposed to criminalize activities which violate security at fuel and energy objects with a single article of the criminal code.

   In case measures fail and this leads to health being harmed, the parties found responsible will pay a fine of up to 80,000 rubles ($2,800) or receive a prison sentence. In the case of death of two or more people, those accountable may receive a prison sentence of up to seven years.

   The country currently has several legislative acts covering energy security, “but they lack a systemic nature,” the head of the Duma energy committee Yuri Lipatov told the press in April in official comments on the legislation.

   The legislation names the Federal Security Service as the agency responsible for conducting investigations regarding crimes at the fuel and energy facilities.
Several security and energy experts who spoke with Oil&Gas Eurasia about the legislation said that the question regarding the security of energy facilities became the critical soon after the terrorist act at the Boksanskaya hydro-energy plant in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria last July.

   The terrorists were able to destroy three of the station power generators with TNT. The station was guarded by only two police officers and badly maintained in terms of security.

   Deputy Prime Minister for the Fuel and Energy Complex Igor Sechin said earlier that the legislation was drafted in response to the terrorist attack on Boksanskaya plant.
So far, Russian pipelines have not suffered from terrorism or attempts of terrorism. In the mid-1990s illegal attempts to siphon off pipelines were the biggest problem, but this type of damage has largely declined in most parts of the country except the Northern Caucasus, experts say.

   Overall, the accident risk level on Russian pipelines is lower than in Europe, according to estimates by the Scientific and Technical Center of Industry Security Problems.
Over the past five years, Russian gas pipelines have suffered 0.13 accidents for every 1000 kilometers, compared to the European average of 0.14 accidents for every 1000 kilometers.

   Transneft spokesman Igor Demin said his company supports the legislation, but added that it would require his company to raise pumping tariffs up to 9 percent from the planned 6 percent to pay for the necessary security measures required by the new bill.
“The security measures and the increase in tariffs are connected to each over. It is not a question of increasing the number of security guards on pipelines, but buying new equipment,” Demin told OGE.

   But Duma security committee member Sergei Levchenko told OGE that the legislation is intended to bring only “minor changes” to the situation within the sector.

   “Many of the Russian energy objects remain in critical condition, both in terms of security and in terms of wear and tear,” Levchenko said.

   According to Alexei Chernoplekov, General Director of Gazprom Environmental and Analytical Center, while enhancing anti-terrorism measures, Fuel and Energy Complex companies should pay more attention to the general security issues. He has stressed that currently some enterprises still apply obsolete technical regulations dating back to Soviet era – as far as 1930s or 1940s.

   “Apart from talking about adhering to security requirements, we should do everything possible to achieve the required security level. At the same time, unnecessary excessive security requirements should not be imposed on the facilities”, Chernoplekov stressed.

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