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Bloomberg: Gazprom-Shell Sakhalin Pipelines Risk Landslides, Academy Says

By Stephen Voss

July 17 (Bloomberg) — Pipeline construction at OAO Gazprom’s Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project in eastern Russia is causing mudflows and landslides, contaminating rivers and streams, a local branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences said.

Field studies on June 2 by the Far Eastern Geological Institute of the academy’s Far Eastern Department concluded that anti-erosion efforts were inadequate, Nikolay Kazakov, the institute’s deputy director, wrote in a July 13 letter to the Sakhalin region’s Committee on Natural Resources and the Environment.

“The anti-erosion measures do not ensure the protection of waterways from soil runoff,” Kazakov said in the letter, which was distributed today by Dmitry Lisitsyn, chairman of a local environment group, Sakhalin Environment Watch, which opposes the project.

“On all waterways of the Krinka, Mozhaika, and Pul’ka river basins, and Petrovskii Stream, active erosion, landslide and mudflow processes have begun, caused by construction work on the oil and gas pipelines,” the academy said in the letter. “In a number of sections these processes have led to the uncovering of the already buried pipeline.”

State-run Gazprom bought a majority shareholding in the Sakhalin-2 joint venture in April, leaving Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Mitsui & Co. and Mitsubishi Corp as minority partners. The project involves laying pipelines across Sakhalin Island to carry oil and gas south to the construction site of Russia’s first liquefied natural-gas export terminal.

The Russian Academy of Sciences is not controlled by Russia’s natural resources ministry. Officials at the joint venture company, Sakhalin Energy Investment Co., could not immediately be reached for comment.

Environmental Concerns

The $22 billion Sakhalin-2 project has been dogged by environmental controversy for its alleged impact on whales, salmon and soil erosion. Government-appointed regulators had threatened to derail the project on environmental grounds until Gazprom bought a controlling stake in the project. The purchase was completed on April 18.

Kazakov said in March 2006 the pipeline might cause landslides and soil erosion while attending a public consultation hosted by the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development.

The EBRD, which is backed by European governments, later sidestepped a decision on whether to fund the project once it became majority owned by Gazprom, saying that disqualified it from EBRD lending criteria.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Voss in London at [email protected]
Last Updated: July 17, 2007 14:55 EDT and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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