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World Wildlife Fund: Too little too late for Shell’s Sakhalin project: Posted Friday 16 December 2005 

Critically endangered Gray whale (Eschrictius robustus).
© IFAW / R. Sobol

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Map of the Sakhalin region
Map of the Sakhalin region.

 Construction through the forest.
Construction through the forest.
© Dmitry Lisitsyn / Sakhalin Environment Watch

15 Dec 2005
London, UK – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) acknowledges that Shell's Sakhalin II oil and gas project has breached their environmental policies in its on-going construction. This confirms WWF’s view that the project has already created so much environmental risk and damage. The global conservation organization says that it is too late to ask for financing halfway through the project and that EBRD funding should not be approved.

The 120-day public consultation announcement by the EBRD is the final opportunity to stop further environmental devastation by Shell on the Island of Sakhalin in Russia's Far East. After the consultation, the bank will make a decision on whether to finance the project.

“EBRD’s continuing delay in making a final decision on financing reflects the ongoing controversy with respect to Shell’s disregard to basic environmental standards in its execution of the project to date,” said James Leaton, WWF's oil and gas policy ffficer.

WWF remains especially concerned about the fate of the critically endangered western gray whale. Shell obtained scientific advice from a panel of whale experts but has disregarded key elements, such as maximum noise levels. A study by WWF and the International Fund for Animal Welfare this past summer has shown that these whales have already been affected by the construction of the oil platform.

WWF looks forward to actively contributing to an open and transparent consultation to ensure that all relevant information concerning the environmental damage already incurred and the future risks is made publicly available.

“Shell has produced much documentation and many assurances on this project over the years but sadly, all the on-the-ground evidence from Sakhalin shows that bad practice continues,” Leaton added.

 “Sakhalin II’s drilling platform and river-crossing pipelines bring a raft of threats to the endangered whale population as well as important salmon spawning streams that are the mainstay of the local fishing communities. WWF remains resolute that this project does not meet acceptable environmental standards.”

For further information:
Anthony Field, Senior Press Officer
Tel: +44 1483 412379

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