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Sakhalin II Project

Volume 447: debated on Thursday 22 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which rivers were crossed with (a) gas and (b) oil pipelines (i) during and (ii) outside the designated winter period as part of the Sakhalin II project. (79334)

[holding answer 21 June 2006]: The designated winter period for crossing rivers as part of the Sakhalin II project is 1 December to 30 April.

Dates on which the rivers were crossed with oil and gas pipelines are available at the Sakhalin Energy website at:

http://www.sakhalinenergy.com/en/project. asp?p=rc_list

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) which rivers were crossed with (a) gas and (b) oil pipelines as part of the Sakhalin II project; (79336)

(2) which rivers were crossed with (a) gas and (b) oil pipelines on non-consecutive construction days as part of the Sakhalin II project;

(3) what the average time period is between the installation of gas or oil pipelines across each river as part of the Sakhalin II project.

[holding answer 21 June 2006]: This information is available on the Sakhalin Energy website at:

http://www.sakharinenergy.com/en/project. asp?p=rc_list

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information he has gathered on the effect of the Sakhalin II project on salmon spawning habitat; and what action he is taking to ensure that there is no loss of such habitat as a result of the project. (79337)

[holding answer 21 June 2006]: The information gathered on the effect of the Sakhalin II project on salmon spawning habitats includes:

Official and ministerial meetings with Shell;

Information included in Sakhalin Energy's River Crossing Strategy;

Monitoring information published by Sakhalin Energy on its website;

Information gathered during site visits carried out by Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), other potential lenders and their independent consultants.

Sakhalin Energy has committed itself to ensuring no net loss of habitat.

DEFRA will be monitoring performance through its close working relationships with relevant departments such as ECGD, who, together with other agencies such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, have commissioned independent monitoring of the project.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment has been made of the potential impact of an oil spill on the feeding grounds of the Western Pacific Grey Whale in the event of a major incident at the Sakhalin II project; and what assessment has been made of the potential impact of such a spill on those feeding grounds in (a) summer conditions and (b) winter ice conditions. (79449)

Information on the potential impact of oil spills on the Western Gray Whales' feeding grounds has been included in a number of assessments, including the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company's (SEIC's) Environmental Impact Assessment (2003) and Addenda (2005), and its Comparative Environmental Assessment (2004). A number of reports on this subject have also been produced for meetings of the IUCN (World Conservation Union) Independent Scientific Review and successor bodies, including a report from the Independent Interim Science Group (IISG), which made a number of specific recommendations to SEIC.

SEIC is developing oil spill response plans that will include measures intended to address the potential impact of a spill on the feeding grounds of the Western Gray Whale in different conditions. These will be reviewed by both Russian authorities and an independent international oil spill response consultancy. The former will address compliance with appropriate elements of Russian Law, whilst the latter will assess the adequacy of plans against a number of recognised and robust international standards.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of (a) the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company's oil spill plan response methods and (b) the potential impact of an oil spill on biodiversity in the Sakhalin island area. (79451)

Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (SEIC) is developing oil spill response plans, which must be approved by the Russian authorities before oil production can start. These plans will also be reviewed against Russian and international standards by consultants acting for the potential lenders. We will review the conclusions of this work.

We have kept in close touch with SEIC on the issue of oil spills. In recent meetings with SEIC/Shell we have stressed the importance of having adequate measures in place to address the risks, and of SEIC's implementing the Independent Interim Science Group's recommendations.