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Sakhalin Island (Pipelines)

Volume 449: debated on Monday 24 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment the Government have made of the monitoring of the construction of onshore oil and gas pipelines on Sakhalin Island to ensure that it meets environmental standards; and how the information is verified. (87576)

The Government have been closely involved in the Sakhalin project from both an environmental and social viewpoint. There has been close monitoring of the onshore construction of oil and gas pipelines by the potential lender group, including the Export Credit Guarantee Department (ECGD) and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Officials from both ECGD and the Department for International Development have visited the island and some of the construction sites.

Additionally, environmental consultants acting on behalf of the potential lenders are carrying out regular monitoring and verification of the project's performance.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information his Department has received on how many rivers on Sakhalin Island were crossed with oil and gas pipelines as part of the Sakhalin II project outside the designated winter period detailed in the River Crossing Strategy. (87577)

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/proiect.asp?p=rc_list.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures his Department has taken to ensure that there are sufficient safeguards in place to prevent a net loss of salmon spawning area on Sakhalin Island as a result of construction activities by the Sakhalin II consortium; and if he will make a statement. (87578)

The Department has gathered information to ensure there are safeguards in place to prevent a net loss of salmon spawning area on Sakhalin Island. 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) and 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 the relevant departments such as ECGD, who, together with other agencies such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), have commissioned independent monitoring of the project.