Environment authorities in the Argentine province of Río Negro Tuesday confirmed the oil spill from the Oldelval pipeline in the past few days exceeded 3 million liters, while the company's remediation plan is still to be approved.
Four days after the oil spill in the Medanito field, near Catriel, it was confirmed that the volume of crude that reached the surface was 3,200 cubic meters, which is equivalent to 3.2 million liters.
Other units to measure the magnitude of the incident: 80 tank trucks of 40,000 liters or 20,125 barrels.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change indicated said Oldelval, in charge of the pipeline, reported the magnitude of the environmental incident Tuesday. Ministry sources said the provisional environmental remediation plan will be made public once it is approved, so as to explain how the company intends to clean up the two hectares affected by the failure in the pipeline connecting the pumping station in Medanito and Puesto Hernández.
The authorities also explained that amount of oil spilled on the ground is much higher than what had been reported previously. The government and the company estimated that it was 2,000 m3. Yesterday it was known that 1,400 m3 had been recovered from the affected land.
After the latest reports, Oldelval explained they were still investigating the cause of the crack in the 16-inch pipe that, at the time of the incident, carried crude oil bound for Puesto Hernández. The exact figures are to be known in a week's time, it was explained.
The pipeline finished filtering the remaining hydrocarbon early Monday and the company made progress on the pipeline repair process. They intervened the pipeline with a hole and the next step will be to replace the affected section. In the next few days the pipeline will be operational again, it was announced, after having stopped pumping on Friday.
Sources from the Secretary of the Environment also added that the place is not recognized by the province as a protected natural area. Oldelval had reported that no watercourse had been affected by the incident and that all the oil spilled on the surface had already been collected.
There is reportedly no record of an incident of this magnitude in the area, although there have been two major breaks in that same pipeline in the last 30 years, but neither exceeded 1,500 m3.