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Sakhalin Energy Halts 09 Seismic Work To Protect Whales – WWF

Dow JonesApril 24, 2009: 11:50 AM ET

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- Sakhalin Energy, which recently started a large liquefied natural gas plant in Russia’s far east, has canceled all planned 2009 seismic surveys following pressure from environmental groups and scientists seeking to protect the habitat of the Western Gray Whale, the Russian branch of the World Wildlife Fund said in a statement Friday.

The WWF Russia called on other companies operating in the area -BP PLC (BP), ExxonMobil Corp. (XOM) and OAO Rosneft (ROSN.RS) – to take similar action.

The decision of Sakhalin Energy, a joint venture between OAO Gazprom (GAZP.RS) , Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RSDB.LN), Mitsui & Co. Ltd. (8031.TO) and Mitsubishi Corp. (8058.TO), followed new research showing a significant decline in sightings, and behavior changes of the whales in their primary feeding area near Piltun Bay, the statement said.

Oil and gas exploration activities in the area appear to have displaced the whales to deeper areas offshore, making it more difficult for whale calves to feed, the WWF said.

“WWF lauds the responsible and forward looking approach taken by Sakhalin Energy in heeding this call from the panel,” said Aleksey Knizhnikov, oil and gas environmental policy officer for WWF-Russia.

Sakhalin Energy wasn’t immediately available for comment.

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-By James Herron, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 (0)20 7842 9317; [email protected]

(END) Dow Jones Newswires 04-24-09 1150ET Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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