Chechnya faces problem of burning oil-rigs

Chechen authorities have ordered the extinguishing of all fires on 29 burning oil-rigs around Grozny, which are discharging hundreds of tons of noxious chemicals into the atmosphere and damaging the republic’s economy, but a Russian news service reports that this may difficult to implement.

At one oil rig alone, about 500 tonnes of high quality oil has gone up in smoke, reports the news service, Glasnost – Caucasus, but the order to put the fires out, which was given by the Head of the Chechen cabinet, Stanislav Ilyasov, would be hard to put into operation because the oil rigs are set on fire by those who steal and illegally export oil from the republic.

When oilrigs are set alight the pressure in pipelines fluctuates wildly, making it easier to steal oil from them, says the news service, citing army officers wishing to supplement their meagre pay as one possible reason why the fires are being allowed to keep burning. The 29 oil rigs that are currently alight were set on fire during artillery and missile bombardments, says the news service, noting that it is possible that they may be put out, but there is no guarantee that future bombardment will not re-ignite them.

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