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Environmentalist fury over oil spill at Shell pipeline site

FROM OUR AUGUST 2004 SHELL NEWS ARCHIVE

The Observer: Environmentalist fury over oil spill at Shell pipeline site

“Shell’s £6 billion Sakhalin oil pipeline has not even been built yet, but it has already caused a damaging oil slick that has enraged environmentalists and could force potential lenders to pull funds.”: “Refusal to support the project would be a severe embarrassment for Shell.”

Nick Mathiason

Sunday September 12, 2004

Shell’s £6 billion Sakhalin oil pipeline has not even been built yet, but it has already caused a damaging oil slick that has enraged environmentalists and could force potential lenders to pull funds.

Pictures taken by the consortium building the pipeline (in which Shell is a majority shareholder) and passed on to The Observer have upset environmentalists, who are furious that it took a response team nine hours to get to the scene. The delay was confirmed by the Sakhalin consortium.

The project, seen as a vital earner for the oil giant, is meant to take oil and gas from Siberia to Japan. It passes though the feeding ground of a rare breed of whales, threatening their survival.

The slick was caused by a dredger, which ran aground last Wednesday night during typhoon winds between Kholmsk Fishing Port and Kholmsk Commercial Port. Some 200 tonnes of oil and diesel was spilt and three miles of coastline was affected.

Crucially for Shell, the spill will be taken into account by international financial institutions, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, when they decide whether to back the controversial scheme. Refusal to support the project would be a severe embarrassment for Shell. The EBRD has threatened to withhold a £94m loan until Shell undertakes new research to ascertain whether the pipeline will harm the endangered western Pacific grey whale, which now number just 100.

The threatened whales feed on the sea bed under which the pipe will be laid. The area is also prone to seismic activity.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,,1302383,00.html

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