Arctic & Antarctica
Dredger in Russian waters. Atle Staalesen / The Independent Barents Observer

ARC - Advance of Russian Oil Could Mean Death to Life in Great Arctic Bay

The unprecedented development of petroleum resources in and around the shallow waters of the Ob Bay threatens a unique ecosystem.

The Arctic summer season is short and there is plenty of drilling,  digging and construction works to be done before ice again covers these far northern waters. The Gulf of Ob has over the last years become centerpiece in the Russian oil industry’s drive towards the North.

This is where Gazprom and Novatek are building their future resources bases. It is an integrated key part of Russian Arctic policy and of crucial economic interest for the country.

Hydrocarbon reserves are enormous, big enough to fuel export markets for decades to come.

But stakes are high.

The extensive development of the area could have fatal consequences for marine life, and environmentalists now sound the alarm. They especially fear that ongoing dredging ultimately could eliminate rare local fish stocks.

Marine life at risk

Over the next two years, more than 20 million tons of ground are to be removed from the local seabed in order to make way for the new Utrenneye LNG terminal. Only this summer, about 12 million tons are to be dug up from the gulf, project developer Rosatom informs.

This could mean death for the precious local fish stocks, researchers from the Ural Institute of the Ecology of Flora and Fauna fear.

Institute research leader Vladimir Bogdanov explains to newspaper Pravda URFO that parts of the Ob Bay must remain untouched by the energy companies if the  vulnerable fish stocks are to be preserved.

Read more.