Whale species threatened by oil and gas exploration

REPORT | 1 March 2006

Nordic businesses have been keen to run for multimillion dollar contracts for the phase two of the huge oil and gas project Sakhalin 2. However, none of the companies have made any environmental or social risk analyses of the project.

The oil and gas industry are on the lookout for more oil reserves. The new places to explore hydrocarbon resources are often in remote areas in Artic environment. These new environments imply several new challenges for the industry such as harsh weather phenomena and sensitive and untouched nature.

The Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (SEIC) has not followed best practice for its activities on the remote Russian Island Sakhalin, for example it has dumped dredging material in the middle of a biologically sensitive bay, let out drilling waste in the sea, caused environmental damage by trench crossing of pipelines in rivers during spawning season and last but not least gone through with installing the concrete basements of a platform very close to the only known feeding area of the threatened Western Pacific Gray Whale.

The Swedish society for Nature Conservation Society (SSNC) and Friends of the Earth Sweden (FoE Sweden) believe that the Nordic suppliers have co-responsibility for the consequences of the project. In the end of the report we therefore direct recommendations towards these companies. Many Nordic companies are active in the engineering sector and in this sector the ethical risks are mostly in relation towards customers, upstream in the supply line, not downwards towards suppliers. We believe that a lot of Nordic companies need to be aware of these risks and develop strategies to meet them.

This report is the first report from all Nordic watch organisations, Norwatch, FinnWatch and Swedwatch. This is not at least important because of the ever more cooperation between Nordic businesses – something which is very visible in the Sakhalin 2 project.

Made in collaboration with: The Swedish Nature Conservation Society, Friends of The Earth Sweden