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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Activists Find New Oil Leak

Greenpeace activists said Tuesday that over 13,000 tons of oil had spilled from a pipeline and gone up in flames in Russia's Far North, the second major leakage in the region in three months.


Paul Horsman, head of the Greenpeace campaign against the oil industry, told a press conference that he had seen a two-kilometer stretch of oil burning near the town of Usinsk, 1,600 kilometers northeast from Moscow.


Horsman said the oil had spilled late last week from the same pipeline that sprung at least 23 leaks in August and September, sending tons of oil into nearby rivers.


Horsman said 13,000 to 15,000 tons had poured into a nearby creek this time, which represented as much as official estimates of the earlier spill.


But officials denied there had been a new leak.


"There was no accident," said Valery Ilyin, a spokesman for the Komineft oil company that runs the pipeline. Instead, he said, there had only been "a trickle -- a few kilograms of oil maybe."


Ilyin said oil workers shut down the pipeline to replace faulty bolts that had caused the leak.


Horsman said the new leak had been set on fire, but Ilyin said the workers had only burned an oil lake that had poured into the swamp in August.


Horsman insisted that "it was very clearly fresh oil. In fact, it was still bubbling from the pipeline."


One Alaskan official told The Associated Press last week that he, too, had seen oil bubbling from the pipeline.