Murmansk Marine Biological Institute KSC RAS, Russia

During last years Murmansk Marine Biological Institute has actively carried out various works in different spheres of ecological support of the Arctic shelf oil-and-gas field development.

Theoretically orientated works related to generalization of previously received results and working out of important issues of shelf development were connected with contractual expedition activity of specified direction.

1. MMBI has carried out ecological engineering surveys for the project of complex development of Stockman gas-condensate field and pipeline route from Stockman gas-condensate field up to output of it to coast in the area of Vidyaevo settlement. Works were carried out under the contract with joint-stock company IEC “Econeftegaz” for a sea part, and under the contract with SPF “DIEM” for coastal area of port installations construction in Ura Bay. In 2006 during specified EES a bulk of expedition material has been collected. Completion of data processing and generalization was planned for the first part of 2007.

Unfortunaly, cardinal change of project decisions (shift of underwater pipeline output from Ura Bay to Teriberskaya Bay) have resulted in haste generalization of collected and processed expedition material (summer and autumn seasons). The integrity of preplanned collection and description of sea ecosystem area of possible Stockman project impact has been to some extent destroyed during change of project decisions. In particular there are no results of detailed important marine EES of sea area of possible Stockman project impact during winter and spring periods. It is necessary to draw attention of everyone who is related to ecological support of Stockman project. During all research years (since creation of joint-stock company “Sevmorneftegas” in 2002, and now, in 2008, with creation AG “Stockman Development”) study and collection of necessary material on environment and biota of Stockman project was carried out only in summer and autumn.

There is no complete complex of necessary information on spring season which is the most significant one for the Arctic region.

There is no complex information on winter as well. All data submitted in EIA marine part of the first project stage (2005) and described in EIA of complex project development (2006) is based on data of EES executed in summer and autumn of 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007. In our opinion there are hardly objective reasons for absence of winter and spring survey. Our Institute was to some extent involved in development of almost all latest programs of EES: we carried out practically all EES till 2007. In 2008 we were partially involved in these works.

From our point of view, there are some gaps in basic components of marine ecosystem in overall data collected during various EES. In particular, according to our ornithologists there is no precise, clear and overall quantitative picture of avifauna state in the area under impact. In the Program approved for realization during July 2007 - June 2008, two air shooting were provided as well for registration of sea mammals and birds. We managed to carry out one autumn survey in 2007. Survey planned for spring 2008 did not take place. The tragedy with tankers in the Kerch Bay has shown that data on quantity of such ecosystem component as marine avifauna is very important and should be known. What is it with our Arctic avifauna? In fact ship observations are not enough, they do not give overall and valid picture neither of quantity, nor of sea birds distribution. It is possible to obtain SEE positive conclusion in ornithological part, having presented materials of ship surveys, results published in scientific journals. But Stockman project is not a small factory.

Stockman project in its sea part is a huge complex on the Barents Sea coast and in a distance of almost 600 km from the coast in the Barents Sea center. Impact on sea ecosystem (estimated, in many respects as short-term, local) can appear significant all in all, especially, at emergencies. To estimate ecological situation and ecosystem condition correctly we need overall correct information which we haven’t obtained yet.

Information on phytoplankton distribution, water masses structure, temperature and salinity fields, surface currents, existing pollution from vessels and a number of other water environment parameters is important for EIA and EP use and subsequent monitoring. All this is submitted in reports of ecologic engineering surveys results, EIA, but on the basis of ship survey data. It is well known that all over the world much attention is paid to the satellite information on these parameters.

Lately (for example, during 2007 or 2008) it was possible to collect sufficient, qualitative satellite information file on specified and many other parameters. It would be a background, i.e. preconstructional information on sea ecosystem condition of area of possible Stockman project impact which should underlie ecological monitoring and control. It’s most likely that disputes over Stockman project damage to the Arctic ecosystem will raise time and again. What should we proceed from if there are no overall qualitative results of preconstructional monitoring? How will Project leadership prove that extensive pollution from tens of construction vessels participating in the project does not influence an ecosystem if the proper background is now unknown?

The example of Kravtsov deposit development in the Baltic Sea (“Lukoil”) is rather revealing. Nobody can accuse “Lukoil” company of the Baltic water pollution as a regular satellite monitoring of the area under development is conducted. Yes, it is not cheap. But what is more expensive: ecosystem health or profit of the company? Will there be profit if ecological issues are neglected or even not paid sufficient attention to? Experience of the Sakhalin shelf development shows results of “wrong” attitude to ecological issues. From our point of view development and realization of the program of complex satellite monitoring within the Stockman project frameworks is one of the most actual ecological support issues demanding immediate decision.

2. In 2006 - 2007 our Institute actively participated in preparation of EIA sea part of Stockman project. Works were carried out basically within the framework of the contract with SPF “DIEM”. Many EIA sections were carried out in cooperation with other organizations: PINRO, limited company “Eco-express-service”.

Separate investigation results of suspension impact on ecosystem during hydraulic engineering works in particular have been reported at the RAE-07 conference (reports of Klevanniy K.A., Shavykin A.A.) and stated in detail in the article (Klevanniy, Shavykin, 2008).
During carrying out of EIA it was found out that there are many unsolved both theoretical and applied issues directly connected with ecological support of Stockman and other shelf developing projects:

- In particular it concerns estimation of damage to fish stocks during shelf development and various hydraulic engineering works as well. It is important that there are no precise and clear criteria for EES volume on a shelf, i.e. how many and what water environment, bottom, atmosphere parameters are necessary for control, on what stations and how often. It concerns EES and monitoring at all stages of project realization (preconstructional, constructional and operational) as well.

- During hydraulic engineering works on a shelf it was found out that criteria of calculation of damage from suspension impact on plankton are completely unreasonable. Different organizations use various values of suspension concentration when this or that amount of zoo- and phytoplankton dies and at the same time do not consider period of suspension clouds existence.

- Besides in course of EES researches into determination of granulometric structure of bottom sediments are not sufficiently carried out. It affects quality of calculations during estimation of damage to biota.

Frequent absence or insufficiency of source data for EIA carrying out was one of the major problems during EIA preparation. All this ultimately resulted in haste assessment of impact on environment though dates of works performance were scheduled. Naturally, quality of works suffered because of that.

3. In 2007 MMBI together with the Southern science centre developed cartographical Stockman project database. The structure and technology of ecological engineering survey database formation and results of ecological monitoring of an area of possible Stockman project impact was developed. In Microsoft Access 2000 environment the cartographical database of ecological data for an area of possible Stockman project impact in radius of 200 km from borders of a license platform and for a corridor width of 400 km along a projected line of underwater gas-pipeline is developed. The database structure, data formats, the administrative interface were developed and the list of tables was drawn. Visualization is provided with software package ArcGIS 9.0. More comprehensively about this work will be told in 2 reports of MDB developers.

4. Though the Stockman project is the basic one of the Barents shelf development, not everything is aimed at this project. MMBI carried out work on estimation of integrated sensitivity of the Barents Sea to oil spills. The work was carried out at financial support of the World Wide Fund (WWF - Russia). Besides MMBI specialists from the Southern science centre and PINRO took an active part in this work. Total oil impact on ecosystem taking into account biomass distribution (for each season) or quantity of the Barents Sea basic ecosystem components: phytoplankton, zooplankton, ichthyofauna, zoobenthos, sea mammal, sea birds was estimated. The report with results was discussed in detail at the international seminar in MMBI on 13-14 February 2008 organized by WWF. Work results were also published as journal article (Shavykin et al., 2008). These results are preliminary and we hope that work in this direction will be continued.

Klevanniy K.A., Shavykin A.A. Modeling of distribution and sedimentation of the suspended substances during underwater gas pipeline laying in the Stockman deposit of the Barents Sea // Environmental protection in oil-and-gas complex. 2008, № 6, P. 20-28.
Shavykin A.A., Kalinka O.P., Duhno G.N., Saprygin V.V., Zyryanov S.V. Estimation of integrated vulnerability of the Barents Sea water area to oil pollution // Environmental protection in oil-and-gas complex. 2008, № 3, P.13-23.



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