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Sakhalin-2 oil and gas work causing great damage, warns ecologist

Oil and gas exploration by Royal Dutch Shell and Japanese partners has caused extensive environmental damage on Russia’s far eastern island of Sakhalin, a leading German ecologist said Thursday.

Species at risk from drilling and production include the rare grey whales in the Piltun Bay at the north end of Sakhalin, Ralf Sonntag, head of the German branch of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa by telephone from the island.
Pipelines being built 800 kilometres to a terminal at the southern end of Sakhalin had been built over about one thousand rivers and streams, in some cases blocking waterways with debris and endangering salmon populations, according to the ecologist.

And in many places cuttings through forests were 100 metres wide rather that the allowed maximum of 42 metres, he added.

‘These environmental problems are nothing new for us,’ said Sonntag, who was among a group of around 50 ecologists and journalists invited to Sakhalin by the Russian government to examine operations by foreign energy companies.

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