Nornikel Prosecuted by Court in Connection with Norilsk Accident

The arbitration tribunal of Krasnoyarsk Krai has granted a petition to include Norilsk Nickel, a major shareholder of Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company as a liable party in a legal claim for 148 billion rubles (1,92 billion dollars) filed by Russian Federal Consumer Rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor.

The arbitration tribunal started consideration of the claim on Monday.

“We ask that Nornickel be part of this case as the company is a major shareholder and supervisor of the defendant (Taimyr Energy Company),’’ the representative of the plaintiff asked the tribunal on Monday.

The request was granted by Judge of Arbitration Court Natalia Varygina.

On May 29, more than 21,000 tons of petroleum products were spilled in Norilsk. This accident took place in the territory of Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company, which is affiliated with Nornickel company, contaminating two rivers and surrounding soil. The case attracted the attention of President Vladimir Putin, who consequently declared an emergency in the area early June.

During an audience with the Russian President, the head of Nornickel Vladimir Potanin pledged to compensate all the expenses connected to the decontamination activities. In his turn, Vladimir Putin stressed that “there would be no damage to the environment’’ if the worn-out fuel storages were replaced on time.

Rospotrebnadzor estimated the damage at 148 billion rubles and demanded Nornickel company to compensate for it voluntarily. However, Nornickel does not agree with the sum demanded by Postrebnodzor and claimed that the amount of damage is only 21.4 billion rubles. As the result, Rospotrebnadzor has filed a claim for 148 billion rubles against Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company.