Unfortunately, the grey whales feeding area at the Sakhalin north-east marine coast attracted oil industry as well. Since middle 1990s whales have to share their habitat with two oil-gas production projects: Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2.
Shelf oil production may result in many risks to the whales and to the organisms they feed: oil spill, troubles caused by disturbing sound effect of seismic exploration and platform exploitation, intense navigation and helicopter flights at the area of oilfields.
Undoubtedly Sakhalin Energy Investment Ltd. Company (the operator of Sakhalin-2 project) and Exxon Neftegas Limited Company (the operator of Sakhalin-1 project) with such reliable stockholders as, Exxon, Shell, Mitsubishi corporations, have to take into account whales’ presence at the area of oil production.
These companies finance the number of scientific projects on whales’ studies, but since the conclusions of a scientific research rarely occur to be undoubted, oil companies always can appeal to the fact that oil development projects are not finally confirmed as a serious threat for whales.
However, data of an independent research shows that situation with the Sakhalin grey whales population is not optimistic. There are serious reasons to believe that troubles caused by oil production effect negatively on the whales population.
Under these conditions WWF-Russia offers the number of urgent regulations including sustainable development of the State Marine Reserve in the area of grey whales’ habitat.
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