Sakhalin Energy Took Part in the International Business and Biodiversity Conference

Sakhalin Energy recently participated in the International Business and Biodiversity Conference organised as part of the Ecology National Project by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, the Russian Geographical Society and the Expocentre Zapovedniki Rossii Autonomous Non-Commercial Organisation.

The conference was attended by representatives of government bodies, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in Russia, the Russian WWF, and other public organisations, as well as scientists from leading institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Members of the event also included companies such as Gazprom, LUKOIL, Rosneft, Gazpromneft-Sakhalin, Gazprom Geologorazvedka, Exxon Neftegas Limited, RUSAL, Nord Stream 2 AG, KPMG, Deloitte, FRECOM, InEcA consulting, and others.

In the course of the event, participants discussed state policies and requirements in the field of biodiversity conservation, application of the ecosystem approach and best international practices. They particularly focused on defining and deliberating the role and place of biodiversity preservation efforts in environmental management systems of enterprises, the scope and content of corporate biodiversity conservation programmes, and action plans for their implementation. Particular emphasis was placed on the connection between biodiversity conservation activities and other areas of environmental safety of production.

Opening the conference, Elena Panova, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, noted that the start of the federal project helped the state to bring conservation issues to a new level of work, financing and legal regulation. “Our joint work within the framework of the Ecology National Project is intended to boost the environmental and social responsibility of Russian companies, which will also help them increase their competitiveness on the domestic and global markets. But, most importantly, companies will thus contribute to the preservation of the nature of their homeland”, said Elena Panova.

The conference’s programme included the Corporate Biodiversity Conservation Programmes: From Theory to Practice session conducted by Andrey Samatov, Head of the Sakhalin Energy Environmental Protection Division. The section participants presented methodological recommendations on the scope and content of corporate biodiversity conservation programmes developed by the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia and examined the currently accumulated experience in the development and implementation of programmes by various industrial enterprises. Research and consulting organisations emphasised the importance of carefully collecting baseline biological information as part of engineering and environmental surveys and conducting comprehensive environmental impact assessments, including impact on the biota.

Representatives of international and Russian non-governmental organisations shared the contemporary best practices of cooperation between business, state and public organisations and drew attention to the importance of biodiversity conservation in the global sustainable development agenda. It was noted that Sakhalin Energy had been implementing industrial environmental control and monitoring programmes from the start of the company’s activities and is currently carrying out a corporate biodiversity conservation action plan. They ensure proper control and management of risks, reduction of negative environmental impact and preservation of biodiversity in the areas of the company’s production activities.

Another Sakhalin Energy representative, Natalya Tsarenko, Head of the Environmental Monitoring and Biodiversity Preservation Subdivision, presented the report “Hierarchy of Biodiversity Conservation Measures: 25 Years of Work on the Sakhalin Shelf”. In her speech, she noted that in its environmental protection activities the company is guided by the Prevent—Reduce—Recover—Compensate principle. The environmental issues management is carried out in accordance with the requirements of the relevant Russian legislation, as well as the provisions of international standards and best industry practices. The company’s environmental management system is ISO 14001: 2015-certified and fully complies with the biodiversity conservation requirements of the International Finance Corporation.

Sakhalin Energy defines priority areas for the preservation of biological diversity, most notably the ecosystems of Aniva Bay, the Chayvo Spit, wetlands, key species such as grey whale, Steller's sea eagle, Sakhalin taimen and others, and implements a number of hierarchical measures to prevent and mitigate impact. To prevent impact, the company moved the routes of offshore pipelines in the summer feeding areas of grey whales and the routes of onshore pipelines in the area of mass bird nesting on the Chayvo Spit, suspended construction work on the nesting territory of Steller's sea eagles, applied the horizontal directional drilling method to cross large rivers and Chayvo lagoon, and so on. To mitigate impact, Sakhalin Energy applied environmentally-sound river crossing methods, used special measures when performing works in wetlands, set speed limits and safe shipping corridors in the areas frequented by marine mammals, and carried out other types of work.

After completing the construction, Sakhalin Energy put an enormous amount of effort into reclaiming disturbed lands, re-vegetating the pipeline right-of-way, recovering and fortifying the coastline and river channels, compensating for the damage done to fish stocks, and much more.

Continuous improvement of the management system, the implementation of environmental protection measures and remedial actions allow the company to carry out production activities in compliance with the established standards, minimising the environmental impact of Sakhalin-2 and ensuring sustainable development of the project and the Sakhalin Oblast.

Summing up the results of the conference, the participants agreed on the need for companies to develop or re-evaluate corporate biodiversity conservation programmes based on the ecosystem approach, science-based indices and indicators depending on the place and type of activity, taking into account international experience and best practices, as well as methodological guidelines developed by the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia.

12 November 2019