Sakhalin II oil and gas development project - River crossings

Shell fails to control its contractors

Update February 2006

Shell continued to have problems with its onshore pipeline construction during 2005

As mentioned below, in March 2005 Shell was forced to halt crossings due to non-compliance with techniques and standards required. Since then Shell has attempted to rectify the damage, but repeated visits by potential lenders and NGOs has seen continuing problems.

Areas have been left bare causing erosion, resulting in sediment being suspended in the water-courses.

Salmon will not lay eggs in rivers where the water is too cloudy.

There continues to be photographic evidence that things have not improved.


Update September 2005

Shell's winter river crossings are months behind schedule. The contractors only completed 37 of the 58 crossings planned for the winter just passed. In March Shell was forced to halt crossings due to non-compliance with techniques and standards required. In May 2005, both the potential lenders and the local government sent teams to review onshore pipeline construction activities. The unsatisfactory practices delayed any possible approval of the project by the banks until changes are demonstrated.

The contractor has used techniques which are not considered by Shell or by Salmon experts to best practice. There is photographic evidence of unapproved stream diversion, inadequate erosion control measures, and pollution of salmon spawning rivers with sediment. Shell is also required by its permits to cross the rivers with both gas and oil pipelines simultaneously, yet many crossings from last winter are only a single pipe.

Shell has continued to construct its pipeline through the spawning grounds of endangered salmon species, which could result in a significant decline in the population in years to come. WWF is concerned that the pressures of a construction programme already behind schedule, combined with contractors not implementing environmental measures will cause even more damage next winter.
Unfinished oil pipline under construction on snowy ground. / ©: Sakhalin Environment Watch
Shell has been forced to agree to further visits by potential lenders to check performance on the ground. Even though further documents have been produced by the company, pieces of paper cannot control contractors or repair erosion.
© Sakhalin Environment Watch
 Salmon spawning streams polluted by sediment. / ©: Dmitry Lisitsyn / Sakhalin Environment Watch
Salmon spawning streams polluted by sediment.
© Dmitry Lisitsyn / Sakhalin Environment Watch
 Construction through the forest. / ©: Dmitry Lisitsyn / Sakhalin Environment Watch
Construction through the forest.
© Dmitry Lisitsyn / Sakhalin Environment Watch

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