Sakhalin II Update:
The Project and the Environment
The Sakhalin II project involves many infrastructure objects with negative impacts on the environment. Its 800-kilometer pipeline threatens wild salmon streams and other animals in the area of the pipeline, but especially the critically-endangered Western Pacific Gray Whale. The oil platform stands adjacent to its feeding grounds off Sakhalin island. The riskiness of the operation of a LNG plant and pipeline also threaten the safety of the surrounding waters. Construction of the complex and its associated contractors' lack of compliance with any oil spill prevention plan already resulted in an oil spill in September 2004. The project is criticized for its environmental negligence at every stage by scientists, local communities, and environmentalists monitoring the project. The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development has determined that the project's environmental impact assessment is "unfit for purpose" - bank-speak for lousy.
1) Western Pacific Gray Whales (ongoing)
2) Cristoforo Columbo Oil Spill (Sept. 2004)
3) Radioactive Devices Detained (winter 2004-2005)
4) Other News
Western Pacific Gray Whales
Shell Moves Pipeline to Avoid Whales as Subcontractors Dump Dredging Waste on Valuable Fishery April 3, 2005
Listen to an interview with Rick Steiner, a member of the IUCN expert panel that issued the report on the threats to the whale March 17, 2005
Whales Are More Precious Than Oil March 15, 2005
Shell Says Dangers to Western Grey Whale will not stop Sakhalin II March 7, 2005
Sakhaliners Reflect on IUCN Whale Report February 28, 2005
Whales Might Not Survive Sakhalin Oil Operations, Panel Finds February 17, 2005
Seeking ECA Support, Shell’s Sakhalin II Project Threatens Whale with Extinction August 3, 2004
NGO response Letter to Sakhalin Energy (SEIC) regarding the Gray Whale Protection Plan August 15, 2002
(see the Plan here )
Russian Roulette April 25, 2001 By John Dougherty (SF Weekly) "The Western Pacific gray whale, once thought extinct, clings to life in a remote Siberian sea. Biologists fear their research is serving as cover for massive oil drilling that could wipe out this lost tribe once and for all."
Cristoforo Colombo Oil Spill
The Cristoforo Colombo, a Shell-contracted dredging vessel, spilled 1,300 barrels of heavy fuel oil and diesel in the waters off Sakhalin Island on September 8, 2004: it still remains grounded (July 2005).
Colombo Salvage Operations Delayed Jan. 27th, 2005 Sakhalin Independent
Sakhalin’s First Environmental Disaster September 17th, 2004 Sakhalin Times
BP's Russian Find Alarms Campaigners October 7, 2004 The Guardian (UK): The Sakhalin oil and gas deposits are "massive," and should yield great profit, but after a Sakhalin II ship caused a spill, environmentalists were greeted with only a PR reponse. "Shell has created a beautifully crafted Potemkin village of environmental responsibility: it looks great, but there's nothing of substance behind it. It is very telling that we get an oil spin doctor before we get an oil spill response plan."
Head of Natural Resources Department, Public Prosecutor, Residents Respond to Kholmsk Spill September 24-31, 2004 Sakhalin Independent: The Sakhalin Environmental Prosecutor filed a criminal case on “marine pollution as a result of an oil spill”
Shell Under Fire after Sakhalin II Spill September 13, 2004 The Moscow Times
Environmentalist Fury Over Oil Spill at Shell Pipeline Site September 12, 2004 The Observer
Shells Sakhalin Pipeline Site Causes Oil Slick September 12, 2004 AFX.COM
Sakhalin Authorities Set to Fight Oil Spills September 11, 2004 RIA Novosti
Over 180 Tonnes of Fuel Leak from Ship Off Russia's Sakhalin Island September 10, 2004 Agence France Presse
Russia Criminal Probe Into Oil Spill September 10, 2004 UPI
Radioactive Devices Detained
A South Korean businessman was arrested for allegedly smuggling radioactive testing devices onto Sakhalin Island, destined for the Sakhalin II Liquid Natural Gas plant contractor, Daewoo. The source of radiation is thought to be iridium 192, which exceeds the normal allowable levels of radiation by between 20 and 200 times.
Shell Suffers Setback in Sakhalin January 20, 2005 Bloomberg/The Moscow Times Russian Court Cancels Environmental Approval The Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk court ruled against environmental permission for a temporary jetty being built by Sakhalin Energy Investment Co.
Russian NGOs File Lawsuit: March 1, 2004 A Moscow court agreed to review a lawsuit filed by Russian environmental NGOs that demands the discontinuence of Sakhalin II project activities that put at risk endangered species including the Western Gray Whale, Steller's sea eagle, and Sakhalin Taimen.
Wild Salmon Center letter to Shell/SEI February 9, 2004 Regarding the Center's review of the company's River Crossing Field Survey Reports.
Summary of Japanese Expert Report on Sakhalin II Environmental Impacts on Wildlife: This report assesses impacts on wildlife species with close connections to Japan.
Sakhalin II "may spell ecological disaster" August 25, 2003
Muddied Waters: A Survey of Offshore Oilfield Drilling Wastes and Disposal Techniques to Reduce the Ecological Impact of Sea Dumping
May 25, 2002
By Jonathan Willis, for Sakhalin Environment Watch
Sakhalin's Oil: Doing It Right - Applying Global Standards to Public Participation, Environmental Monitoring, Oil Spill Prevention & Response and Liability Standards in the Sakhalin Oblast of the Russian Federation
By Dan Lawn, Rick Steiner & Jonathan Wills
In order to prevent a catastrophe such as the "Exxon Valdez" on Sakhalin Island, NGOs invited a team of independent experts to Sakhalin Island in order to review the island's spill prevention and response measures.
For more information, contact the ECA Watch Facilitator.
ECA Watch Campaign Member Links:
Sakhalin Environment Watch, Dmitry Lisitsyn- www.sakhalin.environment.ru/en/
Pacific Environment, Doug Norlen - www.pacificenvironment.org
CEE Bankwatch Network, Petr Hlobil - www.bankwatch.org
Friends of the Earth - Japan, Naomi Kanzaki - www.foejapan.org