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Friends of the Earth: Shell’s new Sakhalin II pipeline route still puts whales at risk ( 31 March 05


Friends of the Earth today condemned Shell's announcement that it will relocate the controversial Sakhalin II Pipeline, pointing out that the new plans will still not ensure the safety of whale populations.


Shell, the lead shareholder of Sakhalin Energy managing the project, announced this morning that the pipelines linking two production platforms in the Piltun-Astokhskoye field off Sakhalin Island to the shore in the Russian Far East will be moved 20 kilometres south of the original location.  However, the oil drilling platform, near a key feeding area for the critically endangered western grey whales will not be moved.


Sakhalin Energy has ignored the recommendations of a panel of scientific experts who said: "Clearly, from the perspective of grey whale conservation, the farther away the platform is from the foraging grounds the better."


Friends of the Earth believes there is significant risk to the grey whale unless the platform is moved. The project has also been criticised for the lack of key safety information available, as Shell has not yet provided an oil spill response plan.


Nick Rau, Friends of the Earth's oil campaigner said:


"Shell has finally admitted the need to move the route of Sakhalin II, but unless Shell moves the oil drilling platform, the future of the western grey whale is still in serious jeopardy."


"The UK taxpayer could end up subsidising this project, if loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Export Credit Guarantee Department go ahead. Gordon Brown, as a governor of the EBRD, should use his influence to stop this loan to the oil industry. Without it, this environmentally damaging project might not go ahead."



The independent scientific review panel was convened by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) to assess the potential impacts of the project on grey whale populations.


Friends of the Earth

26-28 Underwood St.


N1  7JQ


Tel: 020 7490 1555

Fax: 020 7490 0881




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