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Sakhalin-1 and -2 oil and gas development projects, Russia

Mobilizations against environmental impacts and harm to gray whale shakes shareholders partnership and makes EBRD withdraw


The Sakhalin-1 project develops three oil and gas fields offshore in the northeastern coast of Sakhalin Island in Russia and is operated by Exxon Neftegas Limited. Discovered in 1977, the production sharing agreement for the project became effective in the late 1990s and the exploration period has formally ended in 2001. Its sister project, the Sakhalin-2 project, also includes three offshore oil and gas platforms, 15 kilometres off the Russian island of Sakhalin, in the North Pacific Ocean, located just north of Japan, off the east coast of Russia. After a long period of funding issues and after the budget had doubled from 10 billion USD to 20 billion USD in 2005, the LNG plant is operational and has now reached full capacity. It is one of the largest integrated oil and gas projects in the world.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Sakhalin-1 and -2 oil and gas development projects, Russia
Country:Russian Federation
State or province:Sakhalin Oblast
Location of conflict:Sakhalin island, offshore and onshore
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local 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
Oil and gas refining
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Offshore gas and oil projects

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Project area:Onshore processing facility: 62,2 hectares LNG plant: 490 hectares
Level of Investment for the conflictive project20,000,000,000 USD (original estimate of 10,000,000,000 USD was revised in 2005)
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:Around 580,000 (population of the island)
Start of the conflict:01/01/1995
End of the conflict:01/01/2011
Company names or state enterprises:Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) from Netherlands
ExxonMobil Corporation (Exxon) from United States of America
Exxon Neftegas Limited from Russian Federation
International and Finance InstitutionsThe European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:World Wildlife Fund:
Russian Association of Indigenous Minority Peoples of the North (RAIPON):
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Indigenous communities Nivkh, Uilta and Evenki
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Violent targeting of activists
Withdrawal of company/investment
EBRD backing out of financing the Sikhalin-2 project and the re-routing of the pipelines and establishing an independent panel in order to enhance protection of the western gray whales
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Small successes, like the EBRD backing out of financing the Sikhalin-2 project and the re-routing of the pipelines and establishing an independent panel in order to enhance protection of the western gray whales, have been achieved by the environmentalist movements in Sakhalin. Hence, the project has already done a lot of damage to the local flora and fauna during the past decades and is likely to continue harming the wildlife as well as the traditional lifestyle of indigenous communities in the future, as long as it is operating. The demands for a moratorium remained unheard.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

BRADSHAW, Michael (2003), Prospects for oil and gas exports to Northeast Asia from Siberia and the Russian Far East, with a particular focus on Sakhalin, Sibirica: Journal of Siberian Studies, 2003, Vol. 3(1), p. 64-86

Indigenous Peoples in Sakhalin, Russia, campaign against oil extraction, 2005-2007, Global Nonviolent Action Database,
[click to view]

Green groups welcome EBRD Sakhalin-2 pull-out, by Tom Bergin, Reuters, 12 January 2007,
[click to view]

Indigenous People Protest LNG Project on Sakhalin, The Moscow Times, 21 January 2005,
[click to view]

RUSSIA: Support the Indigenous Peoples' Protest Against Big Oil in Sakhalin, Pacific Environment, CorpWatch, 25 January 2005,
[click to view]

Sakhalin-2 oil and gas development project, WWF.
[click to view]

EBRD pulls out of Sakhalin-2 project, Friends of the Earth, 24 January 2008,
[click to view]

ExxonMobil starts up Sakhalin-1 Odoptu field, Oil & Gas Journal, 29 September 2010,
[click to view]

UPDATE: 1-ExxonMobil says not planning to leave Sakhalin project in Russia, Reuters, 16 May 2014,
[click to view]

Sakhalin 1 – Project homepage, Exxon Neftegas Limited,
[click to view]

Demand for Moratorium on Sakhalin-2 Marine Activity, Greenpeace, 21 September 2004,
[click to view]

Russia: Indigenous peoples protest against Sakhalin oil, gas projects, by Tass Staffer, originally published by Itar-Tass news agency, 21 January 2005,
[click to view]

Sakhalin firm ignoring whales: IUCN, The Japan Times, 22 February 2009,
[click to view]

IUCN and Sakhalin Energy continue joint efforts to protect whales, IUCN, 9 January 2012, http
[click to view]

Sakhalin 2 – an overview, Shell Global,
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Map of the platforms, Gazprom
[click to view]

Meta information
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:1759
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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