Geoecological aspects of strategic ecological estimation (see) to explore oil-gas resources of the Arctic shelf Печать E-mail

DENISOV V.V. Murmansk Marine Biological Institute RAS

Exploration of the marine oil gas Arctic resources is a scaled long-term project.

Since the middle 80-ies of the XX century there takes place a consequential, sometimes contradictory advancing of Ministries and oil-gas companies from reconnaissance to the exploitation of oil-gas reserves on the Barents-Kara Seas shelf.

This process started during the soviet period and goes on in the complicated difficult conditions of the new Russia political-economical reality and status formation in the world. Scale of the task conditions the necessity of its solving in general frames of strategic planning of economic development.

At the moment there exist several similar documents, among which the following: «Marine doctrine of the Russian Federation for the period till the year 2020». «Energy power strategy of Russia for the period till the year 2020», «State Program of the complex exploration of the North-West region of Russia», «Strategy of the Arctic shelf oil-gas resources exploration» (several ministry variants starting since the middle 90-ies), «Strategy of the Murmansk region economic development till the year 2015» are to be considered the most important.

All the enumerated documents underline not only strategic importance of oil- gas shelf resources for the Russia economy, but also assign with a different degree of elaboration quantitative parameters and geography of hydrocarbons excavation and the stages for realization of these plans, hi spite of the appearing during shelf recourses exploration correction of strategy parameters, their major contents remains unchangeable - extensive putting into exploitation during the nearest 15-20 years of a great number of large fields in the Barents, Pechora and Kara Seas. To the realization of these projects there should be added excelling development of system of marine oil transportation entering for export from other regions of the country (development of the Murmansk transportation junction), to estimate complexity of the forming situation.

In accordance with the legislation in force (Law of RF «On the ecological expertise») all the materials of strategic development (programs, projects of development schemes, long-term plans etc.) are to be accompanied by ecological estimation obtaining of the supposed activity consequences. Analogous practice exists in the majority countries of the world and is called «ecological estimation of the consequences of strategic decisions» or shortly, SEE (strategic ecological estimation).

EIA procedure of project decisions and SEE constitute two branches of the unified procedure to account ecological requirements when the man intrudes into the environment. Owing to the system difficulties practical realization of SEE as «working» procedure leaves behind the usual EIA practice by 15-20 years. This presentation is devoted to the discussion of some SEE problems as applied to the Arctic shelf exploration.

From the ecological geography of the sea position (or marine geoecology) SEE differs from EIA of project decisions by several principal features, exactly:

? significantly larger spatial-temporal scales to realize the pointed out activity;
? vagueness in the development of natural and social- economic processes during realization of the pointed out activity;
? necessity to account cumulative (integrated) impacts from the large number of spatially distributed but of similar type oil-gas excavation infra-structure objects or/and objects and forms of activity (military, fishery etc.)
? complexity to reveal institutional and juridical status of the initiator of commercial activity (who has to carry out SEE);
? international transboundary aspects of environmental protection in the long- term aspect.

Let us discuss these peculiarities in more details.

Firstly, scale of such activity like for instance, exploration of the Barents-Kara oil- gas bearing province, demands systematic understanding of the natural processes which will occur on the area exceeding 1 mill km" and in the temporal perspective of at least first tens of years. Expert-ecologists should bear in mind that in SEE even the description of a current state of environment and society (baseline study) is not a «snapshot» of reality but changes into a long-term forecast of subsequent states. Correspondingly, impacts forecast (next stage in the EIA procedure) turns out to be «forecast on the forecast», which multifolds complicates the task of ecological estimation.

In conditions of climatic and social-economic vagueness being formed at the outset of the XXI century in the Arctic the only reasonable way to solve tins problem might be poly-variance of sociogeosystems subsequent states descriptions (methods of scenarios). Thus, amounts of initial work at SEE increases by 2-3 times minimally, starting from its initial stages that for the project EIA more initial data, resources for their adoption and analysis etc. are demanded. This is a great problem.

Secondly, realization of any strategy is fulfilled in stages. For the exploration of the Arctic shelf oil-gas resources this means a consecutive put into operation of Prirazlomnoe and other Pechora Sea fields. Stockman field. From the point of view of SEE methodology the simplest variant for the consequences estimation of the Barents Kara Sea fields realization is binary project EIA, that is joint impact estimation of simultaneously two planned uniform fields. Already in this case there really appears the simplest cumulative effect, which should be estimated. Any subsequent complication of this situation (rather model than real) leads to the progressive spatial and temporal poly-variance of impact. To consider this circumstance is possible it two ways: either to try to transform the strategy into the program or the plan of limited though in reality sufficient number of scenarios of industrial exploration and to consider them in turn (extremely difficult, for lack of the unified initiator of activity, different companies conduct their own policies etc.), or to construct a limited model of the future degree of the territory exploration (area), that is to make an integral «estimation from above» (also difficult but in the simplified form is possible). The latter presupposes calculation of the so-called «assimilating capacity of regional ecosystem (ecosystems), that is ability with serious consequences for the inhabitants of the sea, coastal areas and human health to assimilate some amount of potential pollutants (to reduce the emission effect). This estimation allows foreseeing though roughly the sustainability boundary, which is prohibited to exceed.

In the majority of the project («pointed») EIA estimation of contamination scale is considered the principal task. At the area exploration of the oil-gas resources potential contamination problem from several sources is not only preserved and enforced, but is added by significance growth of the factor of «occupation». Progressive estrangement of bottom areas for different platforms, pipe-lines and others might lead to the conflict of interests of different nature users (for instance, oil-gas excavation and fishery), which makes it necessary and obligatory a mutual estimation of the emission and occupation consequences («lack of space» on the exploited areas) in the frames of SEE. Such cases are typical of the north and Norwegian Seas, Gulf of Mexico etc.

Stages of realization of any strategy conditions increase the role of planning and management at SEE conduct. During fulfillment of project EIA the determining role is a rule played by traditional information on the environment, suggested project solutions and to the lesser degree on the social-economic actors (typical of the marine areas). This is caused by the fact that at the stage of projects ecological estimation greater part of the information on what, where and how to realize is more or less assigned. Alternative to the discussion should be present obligatorily in the project EIA of the project decisions but frequently this procedure is of formal character. Really if investment attractiveness of this or that shelf field is estimated, then its ecological estimation a priori is limited by the assigned parameters of the place, time, technology etc. Principally different situation appears during SEE fulfillment. Here definite procedures to establish strategy priority of different nature exploitation are necessary. Preferences during the choice of this or that variant of action are to be based on the clear and exact social nouns, acting like «decisive rules» during comparison and ranging of alternatives, agreement of ecological, economic and social goals. Such approach considers SEE not as the tool for regulation but as the tool of strategic planning.

Technologies of this type of planning are known. In particular, one of the most widely distributed and approved methods of for estimation of the environmental conditions (both: external and internal) is the so-called SWOT- analysis (by the initial letters of the English words «strength», «weakness», «opportunity», «threat»). In the frames of SEE these factors are considered in the ecological context. Thus, in contrast to the project EIA strategic ecological estimation should be extended beyond the purely analytical functions of sampling, analysis and interpretation of information, adding to them functions of formation and account of social values, multi-goal orientation and decision. Evidently. SEE at that turns out to be one of the most important tools of the sustainable development (SD) (or, shorter, rational nature usage). As SD concept includes either cease or turning back of the processes of cumulative depletion and degradation of natural systems, then SEE ideally might and must be considered as one of the most important tools to solve SD problem.

Suppositions presented are based on the logic analysis, this not anything which is far from objective reality. Strategy of oil-gas exploration on the Arctic shelf should include analysis of its «own» risks for the environment obligatory with the complex of threads from other types of activity in the region of the supposed activity. In the SEE frames exactly is necessary to attract to the ecosystem discussion the integrity of all data which should be laid into the basis of the solution on which type of activity, where and in what scale will it be carried out in the SD concept frames. In the year 2004, when oil and gas «govern» economy it is difficult to understand ideas and requirements of SEE as the guide for the action in spite of the juridical demands. But in perspective more practical will be such policy according to which economic activity will recognized admissible only at the condition that it will not destroy structure and lower productivity of the Barents sea ecosystem (it concerns not only oil-gas excavation but also fishery, tourism etc.). Realization of SD goals on the regional level has already started in Norway (south west Barents Sea), in Canada (Beaufort Sea) began to develop plan of integrated management on which basis priorities and limits in the marine nature usage sphere will be determined.

Thirdly, problems of SEE fulfillment include very significant institutions and organization aspects. In contrast to project EIA for SEE it is frequently impossible to establish the initiator of the supposed activity. In case of oil gas shelf exploration JSC «Gazprom», large companies (Lukoil, Rosneft and others), international companies consortiums or federal ministries, that is such structures and organs which plan strategically exploration of large territories (in this case-shelf) might play the role of the initiator. But in conditions of difficult formation of a new structure of the state governmental organs and progressive lowering of the state financing the ecological programs and arrangements; the necessity of financial and organization provision of SEE for those who develop strategies (policies, plans programs) remains mildly speaking unproved and non-actual. By this there forms lag from those countries where development of the Arctic territories is carried out much more regularly planned, centralized and under control from the part of the responsible federal and regional organs and publicity (USA, Canada. Norway).

As the conclusion let us underline the major thoughts of the presentation.

• Development of strategic documents (including all the enumerated above) in the Russian Federation is accompanied by SEE conduct in spite of requirements of the legislation in force. Several circumstances promote to it, the major among them are:

- lack of political will of potential strategy developers and initiators of large scale programs and plans in the circumstances of obvious prevalence of short and mean time economic interests over long-term ecological:
- methodical difficulties of long-term behavior forecasts of complex sociogeosystems under integrated impact of the unpredictable natural and anthropogenic factors;
- undeveloped system of public society institutes in RF:
- conflicts of interests between the departmental character of the marine nature usage and intergovernmental and interdisciplinary character of the SEE problem (conflict between the departments and state, private interests and society in the essence).

? Lag in SEE by 15-20 years in combination with perspective plans (up to 2015-2020 and further) of hydrocarbons resources exploration on the Arctic shelf creates a risk} gap in 30-40 years between the necessary periods of start of practical work on SEE, periods of development of the acceptable scientific-methodical base and tools for SEE and periods of real demand in SEE results. From all above stated it is clear that the results are needed already today, but no prerequisites to the start of work on the ecological estimation of consequences of strategic decisions have not yet established (no customers, methods, cooperation with west specialists).

? A real way out of the established situation might be initiation of the international pilot project on SEE of marine oil-gas excavation in the Barents Sea considering strategies of Russia and Norway on the resources exploration of resources in own economic zones (including conflict areas of delimitation) and in combination with the concept development of the integral management of marine resources (energy, fuel, biological, tourist) on the principals of ecosystem approach and sustainable management. From the Russian side this initiative might be supported by the Ministry of economy of development RF, Ministry of Nature RF. Federal Agency for fishery. From Norwegian side - Ministry of environment. Ministry of fuel and energy power and World Wildlife Fund / for Nature (WWF).

? To live the day after tomorrow in the ecologically are resources safe future it is necessary to start studying to project it today. SEE role in this process is doubtless and constructive.



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