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Underwater gas pipeline along the Ob River, Novy port, Yamal, Arctic Russia


Russia is a big exporter of oil and gas. The Yamal peninsula has become a main hub. In  February 2020 the Barents Observer [8] reported that Gazprom Neft intends to build a more than hundred kilometers long natural gas pipeline from its Novy Port field in Yamal. On 8th of December 2021 Gazprom company officially launched its new 115,5 km long pipeline from which 58,4 km is subsea constructed across the Gulf of Ob [2]. [7]. The pipeline is needed for connecting production facilities on the Yamal Peninsula up north to the Yamburg—Tula gas trunk pipeline south of the peninsula [3].

The pipeline is made to carry up to 20 billion cubic meters of gas per year and is a key part of Gazprom Neft’s ambitious project known and branded as the "Yamal Gas". The company, an oil subsidiary of Gazprom, has invested €1,8 billion in the new undersea infrastructure [3].

The Gulf of Ob and the adjacent peninsulas of Yamal and Gydan both being a top priority region of Russia’s oil and gas industry [2]. The new undersea pipeline project is also related to the development of Novy Port as well as the oil and gas field in the Yamal Peninsula [2] ---previously reported in EJAtlas .

Environmentalists fear the pipeline project will, again, pose a threat to highly vulnerable Arctic environment and likely to have irreversible damage as natural resource extractors expand into the area [4]. Yamal, Gydan and now Ob bay too [1,2]. 

Indigenous groups in the area are not convinced about the technological assurances from the company. According to locals, the major dredging operations in the area might have harmed the marine ecosystem already. Many local fishermen have reported a decrease in their catch on which they relay for their livelihoods and healthy diet [1 via 6]. Besides fishery, Nenets Indigenous peoples on Yamal Peninsula depend on reindeer husbandry [2].

In addition, several researchers have voiced concern about the development from the Ural Institute of the Ecology of Flora and Fauna. In a comment to Pravda local newspaper, one researcher explains that the Ob Bay must remain untouched by the energy companies if the vulnerable fish stocks are to be preserved [1].

The researcher added: "The waters around Cape Trekhburny is where fresh waters from the Taz Bay flows into the Ob Bay. If dredging is conducted in this area it will be the end to the so-called semi-anadromous fish stocks" [1] and thus livelihoods of local people [2]. 

"Fresh water cod will be no more". "Fish in the Ob will vanish". "It will be a huge loss, which actually can not be restored." "The ecosystem will be completely changed” the researcher furthermore stated [1]. The oil and gas pipelines has meant the disappearance of fish, for some years already [9]. 

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Underwater gas pipeline along the Ob River, Novy port, Yamal, Arctic Russia
Country:Russian Federation
State or province:Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug
Location of conflict:Ob River and Novoy Port
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Natural Gas

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Capacity 20 billion cubic meters of gas annual-capacity subsea Arctic gas pipeline is a key element in the major “Yamal Gas” investment project [3]. The underwater section (58,4 km) traversing the Gulf of Ob lays five metres below the seabed [3, 5].

It is reported that "Russian oil and gas company Gazprom Neft officially launched a new 115.5-kilometer pipeline across the Gulf of Ob early last month. The pipeline will be able to carry up to 20 billion cubic meters of gas per year and is a key part of the company’s big project branded as the Yamal Gas. The company, an oil-subsidiary of Gazprom, has invested 150 billion rubles (€1.8 billion) in the new infrastructure. The Yamal Gas project also includes the building of a processing plant that ultimately will produce up to 15 billion cubic meters of dry-stripped gas, 1 million tonnes of gas condensate, and 710,000 tonnes of natural gas liquids (NGLs) per year, the company says. The project is closely connected with the development of Novy Port, the oil and gas field in the Yamal Peninsula. Gazprom Neft has already invested heavily in local infrastructure, including the Arctic Gate terminal, a fleet of seven ice-class oil tankers and two powerful icebreakers. More than 6 million tons of oil is now annually shipped out from the Arctic Gate terminal, through the icy waters of the Ob Bay and to world markets. But the Novy Port and its adjacent fields hold not only oil, but also major volumes of natural gas."[7]

Project area:11500 (115 km)
Level of Investment for the conflictive project1,800,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:16,000 approx
Start of the conflict:08/12/2021
Company names or state enterprises:Novatek from Russian Federation
Gazprom (Gazprom) from Russian Federation
Gazprom Neft Shelf from Russian Federation
Relevant government actors:Government of the Russian Federation
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Ural Institute of the Ecology of Flora and Fauna

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Interviews for local and international newspapers (Pravda, Barents Observer)


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Other Environmental impacts, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Noise pollution, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Other Environmental impacts"The preservation of aquatic biodiversity is not included" [6]. "There has been alarm for some years at the disappearance of white fish" [9]. Possible further permafrost melting in the area. Possible release of methane.
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition
Potential: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood
Potential: Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
New technology development that does not produce undersea noise
Proposal and development of alternatives:"There is no alternative", one could say. This is part of Russia's enormous export of oil and gas to Europe . For the geopolitics and maps of Yamal gas exports to Europe through the various pipelines, see [10], mainly the Nord Stream(s). Gas for China goes through the Power of Siberia pipelines. [11].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Huge impact of the underwater pipeline project on freshwater and fish stock on which Indigenous peoples relay for their livelihood and diet. Despite the confirmation of the negative impacts by researchers the project moved forward.

Sources & Materials

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[11] For general surveys, Thane Gustafson, The Bridge: Natural Gas in a Redivided Europe (2020) (on Russian-European gas trade). 2) Klimat: Russia in the Age of Climate Change (Harvard UP, 2022)

[1] Eye on the Arctic 2021: New pipeline across Russian Arctic bay stirs environmental concerns

[2] The Barents Observer 2021: Gazprom's new pipeline across the Gulf of Ob stirs environmental concern

[3] Gazprom 2021: Gazprom Neft commissions its “Yamal Gas” arctic subsea gas pipeline running through the Gulf of Ob to the Kara Sea

[4] The Barents Observer 2021: Big oil, gas and coal making headway on Russian Arctic coast

[5] Gazprom's video 2021: Launch of the Arctic gas pipeline "Gas Yamal"

[6] YamalPRO 2021: Is Gazprom Neft preparing a larger environmental disaster? Available in Russian via Barents Observer at:

[8]The Novy Port project includes export of oil through a terminal in the Gulf of Ob and soon also natural gas from new pipeline. Gazprom Neft intends to build a more than hundred kilometers long natural gas pipeline from its Novy Port field in Yamal. ByAtle Staalesen. Barents Observer. February 27, 2020

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[7]Gazprom’s new pipeline across the Gulf of Ob stirs environmental concern. Critics say the 115.5-kilometer pipeline could harm the bay's ecosystems, affecting fisherman and Indigenous groups. By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer -January 3, 2022,company%E2%80%99s%20big%20project%20branded%20as%20the%20Yamal%20Gas.

[9]Fish disappears from great Arctic river, locals point finger at oil industry. There is no more white fish in the Ob, says a resident in one of the tundra settlements located near a new Yamal oil terminal. August 09, 2018

[10]. European Political Strategy Centre. Nord Stream 2 - Divide et Impera Again?

Meta information

Contributor:ENVJUST Arctic project ICTA-UAB
Last update22/01/2022
Conflict ID:5804



Novoportovskoye field with the Novy port project

Source: Gazprom

Novoportovskoye field

Source: Gazprom

Terminal along Ob river

Source: Atle Staalesen/The Independent Barents Observer

Ob bay terminal port

Source: The Barents Observer

Source: Samuel Bailey

From Yamal to Europe project.

Source: Samuel Bailey

map of the new pipeline project

Source: Yamal PRO (fn 6)