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
NameSakhalin-1 and -2 oil and gas development projects, Russia
CountryRussian Federation
ProvinceSakhalin Oblast
SiteSakhalin 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 CommoditiesCrude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsOffshore gas and oil projects

Liquefied natural gas capacity: More than 10 million tonnes of liquified natural gas and 47 million barrels of oil

Now at its full capacity, it takes 5% of the world’s current liquefied natural gas market.

Sakhalin 1, current oil production: 250,000 barrels / day

Sakhalin 2, current oil production: 395,000 barrels / day

Sakhalin 3, current gas production: 53 x 10^6 m^3 / day

The facility Sakhalin 2 also includes two 800 km onshore pipelines as well as approximately 165 km offshore pipelines.
Project Area (in hectares)Onshore processing facility: 62,2 hectares LNG plant: 490 hectares
Level of Investment (in USD)20,000,000,000 USD (original estimate of 10,000,000,000 USD was revised in 2005)
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected PopulationAround 580,000 (population of the island)
Start Date01/01/1995
End Date01/01/2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesRoyal Dutch Shell (Shell) from Netherlands
ExxonMobil Corporation (Exxon) from United States of America
Exxon Neftegas Limited from Russian Federation
International and Financial InstitutionsThe European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersWorld Wildlife Fund:


Russian Association of Indigenous Minority Peoples of the North (RAIPON):
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Indigenous communities Nivkh, Uilta and Evenki
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseEnvironmental 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 as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.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 and Materials

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]


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

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

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

Indigenous People Protest LNG Project on Sakhalin, The Moscow Times, 21 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 firm ignoring whales: IUCN, The Japan Times, 22 February 2009,
[click to view]

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

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

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

Media Links

Map of the platforms, Gazprom
[click to view]

Other Documents

EBRD out! © Sakhalin Environment Watch

[click to view]

A gray whale closed to the plant Source:

A Western Gray Whale near an oil drilling platform operated by Shell, Mitsubishi, and Matsui near Sakhalin Island. Photo by Greenpeace Russia
[click to view]

Meta Information
Last update06/05/2015