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RIA Novosti: Natural resources minister to inspect results of Sakhalin II checks

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18:50 | 12/ 10/ 2006 

MOSCOW, October 12 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s natural resources minister will head a delegation on October 24-26 to examine the results of environmental inspections into the Sakhalin II oil and gas project in the country’s Far East.

The vast hydrocarbon project, led by Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell, has met with strong opposition from environmental groups and authorities over accusations of inadequate safety, massive volumes of waste disposal, seismic threats, erosion, and threats to marine life. The Ministry of Natural Resources withdrew a key permit for the project in September.

Minister Yury Trutnev will be accompanied by heads of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Natural Resources, the Federal Agency for the Management of Mineral Resources, the General Prosecutor’s Office and representatives of the Russian president’s envoys in the Siberian and Far Eastern Federal districts.

The Russian authorities’ annulment of the 2003 Sakhalin Environmental Expert Review (SEER), following action from prosecutors, was met with protests from British, Dutch, U.S. and Japanese officials.

Environmental experts arrived in late September at the port of Korsakov, in southern Sakhalin, to inspect the area where excavation work was conducted earlier by project organizer Sakhalin Energy, under Sakhalin II.

Mass deaths of fish and crab have been reported in the area, and inspectors earlier established that a Sakhalin Energy vessel dumped a mixture of methylene dichloride and lubricating oil into the bay.

The Sakhalin II project, which is run by the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company and operated by Royal Dutch Shell, comprises an oil field with associated gas, a natural gas field with associated condensate production, a pipeline, a liquefied natural gas plant and an LNG export terminal. The two fields hold reserves totaling 150 million metric tons of oil, and 500 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

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