Murmansk Marine Biological Institute KSC RAS, Russia

The first exploratory hole was drilled on Stockman field almost 20 years ago (March - June 1988), and USSR State Committee on Nature has officially introduced procedure of environmental impact evaluation (EIA) in practice of economic and other activity implementation. It is possible to intermediate summary.

Historically there are four fundamental stages in Stockman project (SP) realization.

The first stage. In 1987-1990 validation of Stockman project, including ecological part, was made within the framework of international consortium “The Arctic star”. A bulk of expedition material was collected and the first version an EIA taking into account international experience was made with Murmansk marine biological institute (MMBI) direct participation.

The second stage has covered period from 1991 to 2001 when joint-stock company “Rosshelf” had the licence for Stockman gas-condensate field development.

In 1992 MMBI on competitive basis was appointed by the Customer as parent organization for Stockman gas-condensate field EIA from the background environment description through identification and impact assessment to monitoring. This innovative for Russia work had been carried out by 1996, successfully “passed” fishery examination and only absence at that moment of engineering technologies did not allow to submit the project for state ecological examination. In 1997 MMBI prepared and issued the collective monograph “Scientific methodical approaches to assessment of oil-and-gas production impact on ecosystems of Arctic seas (by the example of Stockman project)”. This book to present day remains the first and actually the only scientific summary on Stockman project “ecology”. For the first time principle conclusion that Stockman project in regular (trouble-free) operation conditions will not negatively influence on environment and biota of the Barents Sea was made in this book.

In 2002 year with establishment of joint-stock company “Sevmorneftegaz” starded the third stage. In Russian system of ecological support ecological engineering surveys (EES) became important. MMBI was involved in them repeatedly, at first directly (2000-2004) and later as a subcontractor.
At this stage other contractors of ecological works like “Orgeogas”, “PiterGas”, “DIEM”, “FREKOM” and other metropolitan firms went to the foreground. Local organizations appeared to be pushed aside to expedition works and being a source of wide collection of materials on environment and biota gathered for decades of their own work to contractors. Final results of ecological support (EIA and monitoring) became a prerogative of above mentioned firms. As a result EES and EIA turned to collection and analysis of samples, background conditions description and estimation of pollutants distribution. For assessments of biological aspects of Stockman project invasion into sea, i.e. final results of ecological support appear less important. The obvious tendency is traced: shift from essential biological EIA fundamentals and its replacement by techno-regulated ones.

The protracted uncertainty of Stockman situation generated constant change of configuration of work participants in ecological field. Because of that permanent splitting of unified and consistent process in a chain: DECLARATION OF INTENTIONS ? ECOLOGICAL ENGINEERING SURVEYS ? EIA ? ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION (EP) ? ECOLOGICAL MONITORING AND CONTROL – into separate fragments not always validated from the point of sequence of fulfillment, logic and a methodology.

At last, in 2007 a special company AG “Stockman development” was established and in September 2008 “Gazprom production shelf” company was set up for realization of shelf projects. Ecological activity of these structures at the fourth stage of Stockman project realization is not clear yet.
On the basis of MMBI involvement in ecological Stockman project support we can characterize basic issues as:

1). In the course of 20 years intelligible and long-term ecological policy in the area of oil-and-gas resources of the Russian arctic shelf development was not practically formed. Initiators of planned activity apply to professionals in this area, i.e. to scientists and specialists, financially, methodically and organizationally fragmentary, situational and residual.

2). Inelaboration, declarativity and complexity of legislative and normative - methodic documents determining content and sequence of activities on project ecological support is the result of general unintelligible ecological state policy. The fact that the majority of management documents were not adapted to marine conditions complicated the situation. As a result there is an arbitrary rule in coordination of technical objectives of marine EES, EIA and monitoring in definition of necessary nomenclature optimum and work volume (often the Parties proceed from available financing).

3). In marine oil-and-gas branch there is no departmental ecological science.
Without mutual motion of scientific community and projects developers towards each other the Russian practice often receives excessive and no-purpose information ineligible for administrative decision-making from ecologists, and scientists have to solve difficult issues in a hurry and at financing deficit, as for example, the theory of marine ecosystems behavior at man impact (necessary for EIA fulfillment).

4). The constant "leapfrog" of ecological support participants results, on the one hand, in iterations of activities and on the other hand, in a permanent inattention to essential aspects of the analysis and predictions of environment and biota state. So, till now there are no definitions of significant processes and types of the Barents Sea dynamics in a year-round mode though MMBI had constantly pointed at the necessity of winter and spring phases of ecological engineering surveys.

5). Departmental approach causes immense harm to works of ecological profile. In spite of declared equality of all kinds of economic activities of the law priority right of fishery organs to define harm of oil-and-gas activity remains. Departmental techniques of fishery activity harm assessment are outdated, tendentious and "work" on exaggeration of damage in interests of fishermen. The issue essence is that system compensatory factors of real pollutants and biota interactions in Large marine ecosystems (LME) are not taken into account in methodic. There is a tendency of shift from essential biological EIA basis to its predominary techno-regulated component.

At assessment of damages to the Barents Sea ecosystem it is appropriate and fair to compare quantitative assessments of overfishing loss, mechanical damage to biotopes with trawls, contaminations (any, not only chemical), alienation and/or temporary closure of fishing areas because of actions of different nature managers (practical fishery loss), etc. Unfortunately, historically formed departmental approach and actually subordinate legislation inequality of nature managers does not allow to introduce such approach in practice of ecological support of economic (not only oil-and-gas) activity.

6). Issues of ecological assessment, regulation, methodical maintenance and international cooperation in marine ecological field MNR practically do not develop. Everything remains at declared in 90th level when the normative base operating nowadays was developed and adopted. Since then it became even more bureaucratic, structurally complicated, but it does not affect essential aspects. The problem of EIA methodology and practice remains especially acute. We hope, that international participation in Stockman project development will increase ecological component of project work on the basis of international requirements, standards and regulations.

The most actual issues of Stockman gas-condensate field ecological support are:

- In area of ecological engineering surveys and monitoring: nomenclature optimization and time-space discretization of sampling points for assessment of background state of area under impact;
- In EIA area: selection of substantially significant environmental ecosystem components and assessment of project decisions in real ecologo-geographycal project area impact on them, i.e. combination of time profiles and the spaces (areals) of species habitation and zones of negative impact of processes accompanying different stages of project realization.
- In area of ecological monitoring: general concept based development of practical monitoring scheme taking into account balance of financial, organizational - technical and institutional means for solving issues of collected information optimization.

On the basis of carried out analysis it is expedient to undertake the following actions:

1. To conduct an audit of everything that was made on all chain of activities in area of Stockman project ecological support by now and to reveal weak points and incompletenesses.

2. To convene an international conference (seminar or "round table") of Russian and foreign partners on Stockman gas-condensate field development (customers, ecological firms, scientific research institutes, community).

3. To reveal "weak" points in ecosystem knowledge necessary for solution of most acute issues of validation and projection, first of all, for EIA, EP and ecological monitoring of Stockman project realization.

4. To develop and adopt a program of additional fundamental and applied scientific investigations on the Barents Sea ecology (such as PETROMAKS) taking into account necessity of quality improvement of consequent project solutions of all stages of Stockman gas-condensate field development validation.

5. Necessarily adopt in practice of Stockman project ecological support satellite methods to collect background information and monitoring of waters of the area under Stockman project impact.

6. To conduct broad public hearings in Murmansk and public ecological project assessment due to Russian laws.

There is formal attention to ecology as to an element of project process within the frames of Stockman project, but there are practically no qualitative system shifts in this area. The situation has to be changed the faster and more systematic the better. Otherwise innovative approaches to practical engineering realization of this complex project "will go apart" with non-systemic and formal content of work on ecological support which will harm all the activity.



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