Big Oil on Sakhalin: Putting Profits Before People and the Environment
Since the mid 1990s, Royal Dutch/Shell, ExxonMobil, and other international energy giants have been developing massive oil and natural gas extraction projects on- and offshore Sakhalin Island, Russia. Pacific Environment has worked with grassroots organizations on Sakhalin Island and allies around the world since the mid-90s to force these and other oil companies to apply best international social and environmental standards to their projects on- and offshore Sakhalin, and to halt the most egregious projects altogether.
There are a total of nine Sakhalin oil/gas projects in various stages of development, the most advanced of which are Sakhalin-I and Sakhalin-II , offshore projects owned and operated by ExxonMobil and RoyalDutch/Shell, respectively. The extraction and construction activities associated with these projects have created significant negative impacts to the economic and social well-being of Sakhalin's people, including the island's indigenous peoples and commercial fishermen .
The projects also threaten Sakhalin's fragile ecosystems:
Sakhalin Island's coastal marine waters and inland freshwater streams are vital spawning habitat for wild Pacific salmon. Toxic dumping of drill cuttings off the coast led to a massive fish kill, and irresponsible pipeline construction onshore caused extensive erosion that contaminated and blocked many salmon migration streams.
The survival of the scant remaining approximate 100 Western Pacific Gray Whales (of which there are only about 30 reproductive females) hinges on the integrity of their principal feeding grounds, in the shallow nearshore waters off Piltun Bay on the northeastern coast of Sakhalin Island. It is an especially important area for mothers and calves learning to feed. The whales flock here in the summer and early fall to fatten up before their long winter migration.