Worries Over Whale Population Delays Sakhalin Oil Project (Russia)

The ocean update

January 22th, 2014. Environmental activists in Russia’s Far East said Tuesday that construction linked to offshore oil production had been delayed over concerns it could harm local populations of endangered gray whales.

The mandate of an expert commission examining plans by the Sakhalin-1 consortium led by US oil giant Exxon Mobil to build temporary wharfs on the Far East island of Sakhalin has been extended by two months for further consultation, the head of Sakhalin Environmental Watch Dmitry Lisitsyn said.

The Sakhalin-1 project, a landmark collaboration between foreign energy giants and the Russian authorities established in 1996, is currently developing three major offshore fields in the Sea of Okhotsk.

If the wharfs are built they would be serviced by huge barges that would make so much noise that they would deter rare western Pacific gray whales from using a key feeding ground, according to Lisitsyn.

The shallow water feeding ground is particularly important for whale calves, the ecologist said.

Sakhalin Environmental Watch is proposing that Sakhalin-1 use the more expensive option of delivering supplies by road to the existing port of Moskalvo while…

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