Shell breaks environmental standards...again



Posted on 21 May 2006  | 
 Construction through the forest.
Construction through the forest.
© Dmitry Lisitsyn / Sakhalin Environment WatchEnlarge
London, UK – Documents obtained by WWF show that Shell’s Sakhalin II oil and gas project in Russia's Far East continues to break environmental standards. As a result, WWF believes that the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) should uphold its environmental standards and decline funding of the project.

The independent assessors report sets out numerous breaches of environmental standards set by the EBRD. These breaches happened during the construction of pipelines at river crossings. In some instances the report shows that there were up to ten breaches of environmental standards during a single river crossing. The pipeline crosses 1,000 streams and rivers some of which are world class salmon rivers.

“Two years ago WWF proved to the EBRD that Shell was breaching its environmental standards on river crossings during construction," said Robert Napier, WWF-UK's Chief Executive.

"Unfortunately, even though Shell promised to tighten the process up, these documents prove yet again that Shell continues to break standards. The EBRD should protect its own reputation and decline funding to the Sakhalin project.”

Disturbingly, the version of the same report published on the project’s website differs, showing the work in a more favourable light. The report covers the period from December 2005 to April 2006. Coincidentally. this is the same period of time as the EBRD’s public consultation on whether they should fund the project. Shell’s sustainability report published last week claims that the company had reported “in full” on the river crossings. This is not the case.

“If the EBRD has not seen this report they must question whether they can trust their potential client," said James Leaton, WWF-UK's oil and gas expert. "The EBRD has made it clear that improved river crossings are an essential benchmark to getting finance. Shell’s ongoing problems have now been exposed and it is clear that they have not met the EBRD’s benchmark.”

Equator Principles signatories such as ABN Amro and the Royal Bank of Scotland are currently considering the project and should be equally concerned over the lack of progress on the project, which is now 70 per cent completed. Banks that have signed up to the Equator Principles have signed up to only funding projects that are environmentally sound.

For further information:
Anthony Field, Press Officer
WWF-UK
Tel: +44 1483 412379
E-mail: afield@wwf.org.uk

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