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Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com: Environmentalists accuse Sakhalin Energy of violations


The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has said that Sakhalin Energy, the operator of the Sakhalin-2 project, is violating its commitment to protect the Okhotsk-Korean grey whale population during construction of an oil pipeline.

IFAW said in a press release that Sakhalin Energy began construction of the sea pipeline at the Northeast coast of Sakhalin in early June without carrying out acoustic monitoring of the impact construction noise would have on the whale population.

This, they say infringes the regulations of international financial institutes, including the EBRD and Russian government bodies.

The first acoustic monitoring station was installed at the work site on July 3 when a considerable part of the pipeline had already been built, IFAW said. “There were no acoustic (studies) by Shell (a Sakhalin Energy shareholder) in the construction zone until July three. As a result, the company did not control the noise generated by the pipeline construction or its impact on the last grey whales in the Sea of Okhotsk,” Grigory Tsidulko, the coordinator of the IFAW sea mammal programme, is cited as saying. “Increasing noise nuisance constantly by over 120 decibels and impulsive noise by over 180 decibels is unacceptable for the whales in the zone.” It is quite possible that irreparable damage has already been done, the release said.

The EBRD is currently considering whether to provide some funding for the second phase of the Sakhalin-2 project of USD 300 million to USD 400 million. The EBRD decision may influence funding decisions at other banks, including Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), US Exim and ECGD (Britain), with which Sakhalin Energy is holding talks.

The EBRD decision is expected in the fall of 2006. Sakhalin Energy asked the World Conservation Union (IUCN) to set up a group of independent experts to evaluate the possible impact on the grey whale population and the efficiency of company measures to reduce the impact. Following IUCN recommendations, Sakhalin Energy in 2005 moved the route of the sea section of the pipeline away from the grey whale feeding site.

In the same year, there was careful noise control when the concrete foundation of the new Piltun-Astokhskaoye-B platform was installed. and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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