IUCN Report Offers Way Forward: Sakhalin Energy

Sakhalin Energy commends the Independent Scientific Review Panel, convened by IUCN – the World Conservation Union, for its contribution in studying the impacts of Sakhalin II Phase 2 on western gray whales.

The challenge that the report highlights is that 'anticipation and avoidance of potential risks to the population is essential' as Phase I production operations continue and the Phase II project progresses through the ongoing construction phase into full operation, and it goes on to describe those risks. "We accept this challenge and are confident that we can develop an acceptable way forward based on the application of a conservative risk management approach, as recommended by the Panel," Sakhalin Energy's CEO Ian Craig said.

"Sakhalin Energy has taken a bold step in commissioning this independent review, drawing on the world's best available scientific knowledge," said Achim Steiner, Director General of IUCN. "This process also sets a precedent for how oil, gas and mining companies, and indeed the governments who license their developments, can use the best independent scientific knowledge to evaluate project plans and make decisions."

Ian Craig commented, "We recognize the fragility of the western gray whale population and the potential threat to its survival from cumulative threats throughout their geographic range. This has led us to study the whales since 1997 and was instrumental in our decision to commission the Panel and submit our own comprehensive and detailed scientific work to unprecedented public scrutiny."

"We welcome the many detailed recommendations and suggestions for further mitigation measures by the Panel, and we will be studying these in detail to see how we can incorporate them in our operations."

"We accept the need to look at alternative route options for the offshore pipelines at Piltun. The final decision will consider all aspects including onshore impacts."

"We will use the information in the Report in discussions with our stakeholders – particularly the Russian authorities – over the next few weeks before making a final route decision," Ian Craig concluded.