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Yamal Mega natural gas project, Arctic Russia

Russia’s biggest gas field covers two-thirds of the peninsula which the Nenets people need for nomadic reindeer-herding. For protesting, Nenets activists are accused of preventing economic development.


Nenets are an indigenous group that inhabits Yama peninsula, known as the Yamal-Nenets autonomous region in Russian Siberia [1] [4]. Being a nomad group, the Nenets migrate between forests or taiga to their grazing lands way up to Russia's northern fringe [6].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Yamal Mega natural gas project, Arctic Russia
Country:Russian Federation
State or province:Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug
Location of conflict:Bovanenkovo
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific commodities:Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Yamal project aims to exploit natural gas reserves totaling more than 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent. To do so, more than 200 wells have been drilled and three liquefaction trains built, each with a capacity of 5.5 million metric tons. Every year, nearly 16.5 million metric tons of LNG are transit through the port of Sabetta, with all LNG production sold in Europe and Asia under 15- to 20-year contracts [3]. Yamal will produce uo to 360 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

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Level of Investment for the conflictive project27,000,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:60,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/2016
Company names or state enterprises:Gazprom (Gazprom) from Russian Federation
Yamal LNG Russia from Russian Federation
Relevant government actors:Russian Government
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- Forest Nenets.
- Center for Support of Indigenous People of the North/Russian
Indigenous Training Center
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Nenets indigenous peoples
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Seminars on climate change
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Waste overflow
Potential: Oil spills
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession
Potential: Violations of human rights
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Violent targeting of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:No alternative has been proposed in this case. The Nenets and their activists oppose the project completely.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Nenets efforts in resisting the northernmost industrial facility on their lands -- the Yamal LNG -- has been impressive. However, their resistance continues as the government silences the activists through administrative obstacles accusing them not to have fulfil the "correct paperwork" needed for their indigenous and environmental organization to be recognized officially. In that way, the government wants to keep the indigenous communities under control while the Arctic continues to warm and melt.
Sources & Materials

[2] Reuters: Russian Arctic tribe at risk from Yamal gas projects
[click to view]

[3] YAMAL LNG official website
[click to view]

[6] The Guardian: Russia's rush for gas widens gap between growing wealth and vanishing tradition
[click to view]

YAMAL LNG official website
[click to view]

[] The Guardian: Russia's rush for gas widens gap between growing wealth and vanishing tradition
[click to view]

Meta information
Last update24/01/2020
Conflict ID:4856
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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