Whale concerns delay Sakhalin-1 construction

Jan. 21, 2014 at 7:52 AM

MOSCOW, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Construction at an oil production facility in the Far East island of Sakhalin is delayed because of concerns for whale species, a Russian environmentalist said.

Dmitry Lisitsyn, director of Sakhalin Environment Watch, said plans by U.S. energy company Exxon Mobil and its partners at the Sakhalin-1 oil production facility delayed construction of temporary wharfs by two months, Russia's state-supported news agency RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.

Lisitsyn said the project was delayed out of fear the construction project would harm local populations of gray whales, an endangered species. The delay would give consortium planners more time to assess the situation, he said.

The environmental director said construction planned for the region, north of Japan, would create enough noise pollution to keep grey whales away from their feeding grounds.

There was no statement Tuesday confirming the delay from Exxon Neftegas Ltd., the regional subsidiary managing the project.

Sakhalin-1 is one of the largest international direct investment projects of its kind in Russia. It consists of production operations for three oil and natural gas fields off the northeast coast of Sakhalin Island.

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