Unauthorized Drilling Poses New Threat to Russia’s Taman Peninsula

For the past three years, Crude Accountability has been working in partnership with the local organizations “Saving Taman!” and “Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus” to stop the development of oil and gas transport terminals on the Taman Peninsula in southwestern Russia. To date, we have focused on halting the IFC-financed development of the Russkiy Mir Oil Terminal, which is threatening the local communities by destroying their most productive fishing grounds, polluting the air, water and soil and undermining the existing economy, which is based on fishing, tourism and agriculture.

Two weeks ago, an additional, unanticipated threat was revealed when the company Kubanneft-Resursy, began drilling the first of three exploratory wells on Taman in the search for oil and gas reserves. The drilling came as an unwelcome surprise to Taman residents, who had not been informed of these plans—there was no public hearing and there is no Environmental Impact Assessment. Furthermore, the drilling site is a Specially Protected Natural Territory, meaning that the area falls under stringent environmental protection provisions.

Our partners at “Saving Taman!” and “Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus” have quickly mobilized to meet with local decision-makers within the company and at various levels of government oversight, and have brought this troubling development to the attention of the public. You can read one of the articles from the local press below, and Crude Accountability will be posting regular updates to the Taman Campaign portion of our website.

 


Environmentalists: An Exploratory Oil and Gas Well is being Drilled on Taman Without Permission
November 29, 2010
Black Sea News

In the Temryuk Raion at the foot of the Karabetovsky Hills, exploratory work has begun—without authorized documentation—to search for oil and gas.

“The drilling of the exploratory oil and gas well is being undertaken by the private company Kubanneft-Resursy, although, according to some documents the name of the organization is Krasnodarneftegas,” reported Vadim Novopashin, a representative of Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus.

According to Novopashin, the drilling is being done on a two-hectare plot near the town of Taman, in the Karabetovsky Hills, which is a Specially Protected Natural Territory. Three years ago, there was a volcanic eruption here that ejected large amounts of rock and hot gas.

On November 24, Deputy of the Temryuk Raion Council Evgenii Prisyuda; Environmental Watch member Vadim Novopashin; Co-chair of the environmental organization “Saving Taman!” Igor Golubenkov; “Saving Taman!” member Alexander Komlevoi, Communist Party member Sergey Perkov, Deputy Ataman of the Cossack village, Golubitskaya, Alexander Bochkarev, and the Cossack Alexander Barabash visited the drilling site. And on November 25, they met with the directors of the company conducting the operations.

“It turns out that there are no documents at site authorizing this construction. There is no geological/technical order, no environmental impact assessment, no oil spill response plan,” continued Novopashin. “The public of Temryuk Raion and the town of Taman were not informed of the plans to drill. There were no public hearings on this issue.”

According to the environmentalists, the Head of Drilling Oleg Zhykov and the company Director Alexander Makarenko reported that they have begun exploratory drilling operations for oil and gas on the plot of land called Komendanto-Karabetovkaya. The first of three planned exploratory wells is now being constructed. The drilling work is expected to be completed by spring 2011.

Community representatives and environmentalists met with the Head of the Taman rural settlement Mikhail Vaslovyk. He stated that he did not have any information on the drilling, further stating that this question falls under the authority of the leadership at the raion and krai levels.

Report compiled from material by Zhivaya Kuban.

Translation by Crude Accountability

Crude Press Release
December 6, 2010
Contact: Kate Watters
kate@nullcrudeaccountability.org
703-299-0854