RUSSIA: Shell Moves Sakhalin Pipeline but Faces New Destruction Row

Publisher Name: 
The Guardian

Shell is facing yet more
environmental protests over its controversial $12 billion oil and gas
pipeline off the east coast of Russia.

The
oil giant last week caved into campaigners' pressure and moved the
route of its Sakhalin pipeline, which previously went through the
feeding ground of a near-extinct breed of grey whales.

But
as that decision was announced, Sakhalin islanders discovered a huge
amount of debris that appeared to have been dumped by sub-contractors
in a shallow bay crucial to the island's vital fishing industry.

Shell yesterday organised a dive to find out how the mountain of debris came to be dumped there.

The
decision to move the pipeline was hailed as a victory by campaigners,
but they remain concerned that an off shore production platform is
still too close to the whales' feeding ground.

James
Leaton,the World Wildlife Fund's extractive industries policy officer,
said: 'Shell has recognised there were flaws in their original design,
which takes courage. However, location alternatives have only been
considered for the offshore pipeline, not for the platform. The
majority of the whale panel's concerns remain outstanding regarding
location, oil spill response, ship-whale collisions, sedimentation,
noise and cumulative impacts.'

The
Sakhalin-2 project will generate $45 billion worth of oil and liquefied
natural gas and is vital for the future of the embattled firm.

In
an exclusive interview with The Observer , Sakhalin Energy's chief
executive, Ian Craig, said whale experts will be invited to oversee
revised plans for the project and that the company had been open and
transparent in all its dealings, having spent millions of pounds
researching the behaviour of the western grey whale to minimise any
impact on its survival. The Observer was first to reveal how Shell's
pipeline threatened the whales with extinction in January last year.

Meanwhile,
Shell has reitterated that it is holding talks with a number of
companies eager to enter into the Sakhalin consortium.

AMP Section Name:Energy
  • 107 Energy
  • 183 Environment