State authorities have commenced to investigate the legitimacy of drilling on the continental shelf of Western Kamchatka
On Septemeber 7th, 2011 it became known to general public that according to the information published on Arcticmorneftegasrazvedka’s website, the company being a GAZFLOT’s drill subcontractor, first 410 meters of the well called “Pervoocherednaya” were drilled although the project had not been approved of by both state and public environmental commissions of experts. Environmental organizations sent official letters both to Yury Chaika, Russia’s Prosecutor General and to the Federal Service for Supervision over Natural Resource Management requesting to check activities of OOO GAZFLOT and its subcontractors in the shelf waters of Western Kamchatka.
However, after the weekends (September 10th to September 11th, 2011) all reference to the project was removed from the Register of objects subject to state environmental expertise posted on the website of the Federal Service for Supervision over Natural Resource Management. Information about drilling the oil well published on Arcticmorneftegasrazvedka’s website earlier had been removed as well.
In response to the inquiry filed by environmental organizations, ROSPRIRODNADZOR Department in the Far East resolved to initiate an administrative action against GAZFLOT. “If all the facts that we are informed of prove to be officially true, GAZFLOT will be charged with infringement of several Law articles. Some of the charges are as follows: nonobservance of procedures prescribed by law for the state environmental expertise, violation of rules regulating water consumption, lack of license permitting to handle hazardous waste,” says Sergey Negrul, Head of Department for marine supervision in Kamchatskiy krai and Chukchi autonomous area with ROSPRIRODNADZOR branch office in the Far East.
At present, neither public organizations nor state agencies regulating exploitation of mineral resources have any relevant information about the exact coordinates of the drill site. WWF is planning to start satellite monitoring of all drill works carried out by GAZFLOT on the continental shelf. “If drilling has been carried out in accordance with the project documentation checked by public environmental commission of experts earlier, it means that boring wastes containing chemical agents were dumped directly into the sea, which can not be allowed in the area so abundant in fish resources,” says Anatoliy Dekshtein, coordinator of the marine program by WWF Kamchatka-based branch office. “Satellite monitoring will help estimate the spreading area of dumped wastes and assess damage caused to environment due to unlawful activities.”