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Oil Spill at Bashneft-Lukoil Trebs Arctic Venture

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MOSCOW - An oil spill in the Russian Arctic affected an area of up to 8,000 square meters after workers tried to open an old well, causing oil to gush uncontrollably for 37 hours, officials said Monday.

The spill at the Trebs field started Friday and continued through the weekend, spurting out up to 500 metric tons of oil a day, the Nenets autonomous district administration said on its website Monday.

The oil well was in the area operated by a joint venture between Russian companies Lukoil Holdings and Bashneft, which received the license to work on the northern Trebs field last year.

The accident was most likely caused by breakage of an old well's corroded plug when workers attempted to operate it, said Viktor Ivkin, head of the Nenetsky autonomous district emergency ministry branch.

Workers managed to stop the fountain of oil Sunday morning, and work was under way to construct a storage facility for the spilled oil, he said.

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