IUCN and Sakhalin Energy continue joint efforts to protect whales

From: IUCN

IUCN, whale experts and Sakhalin Energy Investment Company (Sakhalin Energy) are starting a second 5-year phase (2012-2016) of joint collaboration to protect the endangered population of western gray whales. Through this collaboration, a credible mechanism has been created in the last 5 years to reduce impacts of oil and gas development in the vicinity of Sakhalin Island, in northeastern Russia.

The western Pacific population of gray whale (Esrichtiius robustus) is one of only two surviving populations of this species in the world. Although historically both populations were brought near to extinction by commercial whaling and environmental disturbances, the eastern Pacific population has recovered substantially and now numbers about 20,000 individuals. By comparison, the western Pacific population, or western gray whale is still critically endangered, with only around 135 individuals left.


Rare whale swims past Oregon en route to Mexico (KPIC)

From: KPIC

By MARK FLOYD OSU News & Research Communications

Story Published: Jan 30, 2012 at 8:10 AM PST

NEWPORT, Ore. – For the second consecutive year, an international team of scientists has tracked a whale via satellite from one of the world’s most endangered populations to the West Coast of the United States from the waters off Russia’s Sakhalin Island.

Last year, the saga of “Flex” captured the attention of the public as the male, 13-year-old western gray whale journeyed across the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean to Vancouver Island and down to Oregon before the tag finally quit working.


Satellite tags show ties between Pacific gray whale groups (The NewsTribune)

From: The News Tribune


A research team using satellite tracking technology is causing marine mammal biologists to re-examine what’s known of highly endangered western Pacific gray whales.

For the second time in two years, scientists have tracked western gray whales — considered a separate population from California gray whales — from summer feeding grounds off Russia to the North America coast, challenging the assumption that western whales spent winters in the south China Sea.

A 9-year-old female as of last week had crossed the North Pacific to U.S. waters and swam south all the way to Tijuana, Mexico, apparently heading for breeding and calving rounds in lagoons of Baja California.


BP to End Sakhalin Venture With Rosneft (Wall Street Journal)

From: Wall Street Journal


LONDON—BP PLC said it will end its 13-year alliance with Russian state-owned oil company OAO Rosneft to explore for oil and gas in Sakhalin, due in part to the economics of the Far East project.

The U.K.-based energy producer said that in recent meetings with the shareholders and board of ZAO Elvary Neftegaz it confirmed its intention to exit the joint venture. “There are many reasons for this decision, including the challenging economics of the discovered resource in the KV [Kaigansky-Vasuykansky] block,” BP said Friday.


OIRA Watch

Some two dozen legislative proposals to improve the regulatory process are under consideration by the Congress.  Nonetheless, the immediate relief needed for job creation can come though OIRA.

Accordingly  we have launched an interactive public docket (IPD), OIRA Watch,  aimed at demonstrating the need for OIRA to act on particular issues of interest.

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UPDATE 1-Russia cuts Sakhalin-1 2012 funds to $2.89 bln-source (Reuters)

From: Reuters

Dec 30 (Reuters) – Russia has approved a 2012 budget of $2.89 billion for the ExxonMobil-led Sakhalin-1 oil project, down from $3.26 billion for this year, an industry source told Reuters on Friday.

He didn’t explain the reason for the budget cut.

The project consists of three offshore oilfields that were initially tapped to meet rising demand in the Asia-Pacific region.

Exxon and Japan‘s Sakhalin Oil and Gas Development Co Ltd (Sodeko) each hold 30 percent stakes in Sakhalin-1, while Russia’s state-owned oil company Rosneft and India’s ONGC own the remaining 40 percent.