Ecologists oppose construction of oil terminal in northern Krasnoyarsk region

Both ecologists and representatives of the low-numbered indigenous peoples speak agasint this construction. Specialists also say the project will affect the fish resources, the animals and the soil. The regional authorities promise they would not allow negative consequences.

What ecologists and northern peoples are saying

“Near the site of terminal’s construction there are pits, where valuable fish stay in winter: sturgeon, nelma, muksun, and this terminal will mean unrecoverable damage for the fish population,” chairman of Taimyr’s low-numbered indigenous peoples’ association Grigory Kukarev told TASS. It would be much safer to build not a terminal, but an oil pipeline to Dikson, where now continue works at the sea port for export of coal from Taimyr.

A similar concern is expressed in a letter the Research Institute of Ecology and Fishing Water Reservoirs addressed to the envoy for rights of the low-numbered indigenous peoples in the Krasnoyarsk Territory Semen Paltchin (obtained by TASS). “The works to deepen the bottom affect production abilities of hydrobionts (including fish), and in some cases the cause even complete elimination of the fodder base for fish and thus making the latter leave the affected area,” the letter reads.

Scientists also say more intensive navigation, its round-year functioning, will affect the population of Siberian surgeon. “In the winter season, sturgeon requires rest, and the winter navigation ruins the normal conditions for this period of the fish’s life and consequently the formation of future spawning herds,” the document reads.

“Besides the threat to the fish resources and damage to the soil, the terminal’s construction may cause outbreaks of anthrax as anthrax reindeer burials are next to the construction area,” Greenpeace Russia told TASS. “This means we may see outbreaks similar to those we saw in Yamal,”

The indigenous peoples’ envoy also expressed concern over the terminal’s construction. In April 2016, jointly with an international environmental organization the envoy’s office inspected compliance with the nature preservation legislation at the construction site of the Tanalau oil terminal (contractor – Taimyrneftegazdobycha). Ecologists said one of the biggest violations was that soft diesel fuel tanks had been installed in the preserved area of the Yenisey River shore.

Human rights experts say about violated constitutional rights for receiving truthful information on state of the environment over planned activities related to construction of the oil terminal. “In the earlier report, the envoy already expressed concern about the plans to build near the Baikalovsk settlement the Tanalau oil terminal,” reads the envoy’s recent report “On problems of execution of constitutional rights and freedoms of low-numbered indigenous peoples in the Krasnoyarsk Territory” (obtained by TASS).

What regional authorities are saying

The Krasnoyarsk territory’s Governor Viktor Tolokonsky says all the ecology-related aspects should be considered in implementation of this project. “As yet, it (terminal’s construction) is rather a project than the implementation. In northern Krasnoyarsk territory there are many oil deposits, and oil production is related directly to its transportation. In fact, we are not against the terminal’s construction, but only if all ecology requirements are observed. Keeping the nature is more important than receiving revenues, and the Krasnoyarsk territory is not racing after every ruble, we have many investments,” the governor told TASS.

The regional ministry of natural resources and ecology told TASS “construction of the Tanalau oil terminal was approved by the Russian government as a part of the federal transport and road development.” The ministry said the constructing company had made a project on development of the Payakhskoye and Severo-Payakhskoye fields, where construction of the Tanalau oil terminal is a part of the project. “The presentation of the oil terminal’s construction passed the state ecological analysis at the federal level, thus the situation around regulation of the ecology-related aspect of Tanalau’s construction is under control,” the ministry said.

The company, involved in construction of the oil terminal (a part of the Independent Petroleum Company), refused to answer questions from TASS.

About the project

According to the forecasted impact on the environment, the investor ordered in 2015, Tanalau’s capacity in 2017 should make 263,000 tonnes of oil, and by 2020 it should be beyond three million tonnes, from 2022 the terminal would serve five million tonnes a year.

Open sources say the cost of the terminal’s construction is 8.9 billion rubles (about $156 million). The terminal is being built in development of the Payakhskoye and Severo-Payakhskoye oil fields, with estimated recoverable resources of 106.7 million tonnes. The fields are owned by the Independent Petroleum Company – a vertically integrated oil and gas company operating prospecting and exploration, field development and production, refining and distribution.