Biodiversity preservation programmes are rolled out across all of the Company’s Russian assets. Ensuring environmental safety in offshore and onshore projects is the Company’s absolute priority. Its environmental initiatives aim to maintain the natural balance of fragile Arctic ecosystems and preserve the region’s biodiversity.
To evaluate its impact on various ecosystems, the Company maintains an ongoing environmental monitoring within its footprint. Some of the territories that the Company monitors in the Prirazlomnaya platform area include the coasts of Dolgy, Matveyev, Golets, Bolshoy Zelenets, Maly Zelenets and Vaygach islands. The monitoring covers surface seawater and sea ice, biological resources, bottom sediments and atmospheric air. The 2018 research proved that the monitored sea area was in normal condition, with no deviations identified in coastal ecosystems.
In Russia’s Arctic, Gazprom Neft runs an open-ended biodiversity preservation programme using some of the animal and plant species that are endemic to the Arctic marine ecosystems as indicators of their sustainability. Developed jointly with the leading Russian and global experts, this programme seeks to meet the requirements of major national and international biodiversity preservation regulations, agreements and conventions.
In 2018, Gazprom Neft launched a large-scale programme to get insights into the life of narwhals, a rare Arctic species featuring on the IUCN Red List. Up to now, there has been no comprehensive research on this animal. This unique project will help study the condition of the narwhal population in the western sector of Russia’s Arctic Zone, determine the number and distribution of the species, and develop a conservation programme for narwhals and their habitat.
In the Sakhalin island area, the Company monitors the Sea of Okhotsk ecosystem. Since 2017, Gazprom Neft takes part in an industry-wide project aimed at monitoring and conserving the gray whale population. The population of gray whales migrating between the Sea of Okhotsk and southern Korea is one of the smallest on our planet. In the early 1980s, these animals nearly went extinct and have since been closely watched by environmentalists. Oil and gas companies take measures to reduce the negative impact on the gray whale population and ensure its conservation and replenishment.
The research conducted by the companies in the industry underlies the measures aimed at protecting gray whales, which include the use of ships with lower noise levels, vessel speed limits, and routes that are removed from whale feeding grounds. The action plan is subject to an independent evaluation by the Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel (WGWAP) established by IUCN. WGWAP consists of American, Canadian and Russian scientists specialising in marine mammals and hydroacoustics.
According to the 2018 preliminary monitoring results, the Company’s operations do not affect the population of gray whales.
The reproduction of aquatic bioresources programme is a significant element of field development projects. Gazprom Neft subsidiaries operating in the Arctic contribute to breeding and reproduction of rare fish species in the northern seas and rivers. Millions of muksun fingerlings are released into the Ob, Konda and Severnaya Sosva rivers. Hundreds of thousands of captive-bred Atlantic salmon inhabit the waters of the Northern Fishery Basin (the Vyg, Suma and Keret rivers). In 2018, the Company’s facilities released 20 million fingerlings of commercially valuable fish species into the water bodies. During the same year, the Company signed an agreement with the Government of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area to expand its programme aimed at preserving aquatic biological resources and their habitat in the region. During 2018, Gazprom Neft also released 25,000 of young Atlantic salmon into the Keret River (the Republic of Karelia) that flows into the White Sea.
“We run an extremely complex crude oil extraction project, and we fully recognise our responsibility to maintain the ecological balance. Therefore, the Company takes action in several areas: we deploy state-of-the-art technology that reduces the environmental impact of our operations, arrange continuous environmental monitoring, and implement the biodiversity preservation programme both in the Company’s area of responsibility and in other Russian regions.”Shaukat Bakiyev Head of HSE, Offshore Development Division