Large-Scale Hydrocarbon-Related Industrial Projects in Russia's Coastal Regions

The Risks Arising from the Absence of Strategic Environmental Assessment

in Sibirica
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World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Russia has monitored several large-scale hydrocarbon extraction and transportation projects on the Russian shelf, revealing the chaotic nature of this large-scale industrial activity. An analysis of the early stages of project implementation has shown that, contrary to the claims of project designers, the projects are starting to have diverse, tangible, and often negative impacts on the natural and human environments. Risks can be grouped as follows: the loss of or damage to unique natural and cultural phenomena, major accidents, and indirect and cumulative effects on the environment or human communities. The author argues that completion of a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) before these projects began may have helped to significantly reduce these risks, and considers possibilities for institutional development of SEA in Russia, based on trans-sectoral partnership.