Maintaining natural ecosystems and biodiversity has significant economic, environmental, and social importance, ensures a productive habitat, and is an important aspect in human health. Our goal is to conserve the diversity of natural biosystems in the areas where the Company operates, and to use them in a way that does not threaten their capacity for self-regeneration.
Our activity to preserve biodiversity is performed based on the principle “prevent – reduce – rehabilitate – compensate”, which is applied at all stages of the life cycle of oil and gas production projects.
At the early stages, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the planned projects is performed, during which background information is collected on the condition of the ecosystem on the territory of the projected activity (including the condition of valuable and protected flora and fauna). The data received are considered when selecting the site for production facilities, and if necessary alternative project implementation scenarios are considered. The risk of damaging biodiversity is assessed, as are the forecasted environmental and related social and economic ramifications of this damage.
At the operating stage we take measures to reduce and mitigate the impact of production hazards and risks, including measures to prevent the introduction of invasive species. The measures being taken and the action plans are adjusted based on an assessment of environmental monitoring results. We pay special attention to our emergency response readiness and our ability to liquidate potential impacts and to save animals, birds, and plants.
The company uses advanced technologies to ensure environmental safety, investing significant funds in this objective. The integrated industrial environmental control system (IEC) in place at its offshore facilities helps assess environmental impacts in a timely manner. The innovative quality of the IEC lies in the comprehensive observation and monitoring of all natural and man-made environments at all stages of the life cycle of the facility, with the help of satellite data, underwater observations (sea-floor monitors and geophysical observatories), and measurements taken directly at the facilities and in the immediate environs.
A corporate procedure has been developed to facilitate the prompt interpretation of environmental monitoring results. For example, the system for assessing the intensity of impacts of oil production on the marine environment is reflected in the LUKOIL-Nizhnevolzhskneft corporate standard regarding the organization of environmental monitoring using sea-floor monitors and the identification of sources of hydrocarbon pollution in the Caspian sea basin during the development of oil and gas fields.
Key biodiversity conservation measures consist of the implementation of protection systems for fish and birds; compensation for damage to marine bioresources; silt control in small rivers, including in the underwater passages of pipeline systems; the remediation of disturbed and oil-contaminated land; and the greening and beautification of industrial facilities. Specific measures are planned and performed under the medium-term Environmental Safety Programs of the LUKOIL Group.
The LUKOIL Group has Biodiversity Conservation Programs for Company subsidiaries in the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation. As part of this program subsidiaries working in this zone (LUKOIL-Western Siberia, LUKOIL-Komi, and Varandey Terminal) draft their own programs and action plans to conserve rare types of flora and fauna (indicator species).
The Research and Development Program is aimed, among other things, at studying the biological diversity of ecosystems and reducing the impact of production. For example, in 2017 research was carried out into lacustrine-boggy landscapes in petroleum provinces in the sub-Arctic and Arctic Zones of Russia. The development of technologies and equipment to remove oil and petroleum products from bodies of water also continued.
LUKOIL applies and passes on biodiversity conservation best practices.
Training and exercises on rescuing animals in the event of oil spills were held in 2017. Many stakeholders took part in the project, including the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation, the joint project between the UNDP-GEF and the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation Biodiversity Conservation in the Policies and Development Programs of the Energy Sector in Russia, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) of Russia, a number of environmental and nature conservation organizations, and the international SEA ALARM Foundation. The Varandey Terminal and LUKOIL-Komi were chosen as the base sites.
The goal of the training was to implement best practices in rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife resources in the event of spills of oil and petroleum products. International experts held table-top exercises based on a simulated event and a two-week practical course on organizing the search and capture of oil-covered birds and the correct way to treat them.
A corporate document will be drafted that summarizes the training results. The knowledge received began to be shared in 2017 and this document will make it possible to share the experience gained with all LUKOIL Group subsidiaries. For example, LUKOIL-Nizhnevolzhskneft specialists held a similar seminar in the Northern Caspian with the participation of the Astrakhan Nature Reserve and the non-governmental organization Friends of the Astrakhan Nature Reserve. The seminar’s methods and materials can be used in creating an integrated regional response and preparedness centers for the protection and rescue of wildlife.
As part of the implementation of its environmental program, LUKOIL performs wide-ranging work to replenish fish stocks. In 2017, around 95.7 million fingerlings of valuable species of fish (including sturgeon, walleyes, starlet, and pike) were released into rivers and other bodies of water in the regions where the Company operates.
The most intensive work to artificially stock bodies of water is being performed in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area-Yugra, the Komi Republic, the Perm Territory, and the Astrakhan Region. A total of RUB 280.2 million was spent replenishing fish stocks in 2017.
We believe the implementation of LUKOIL’s program to conserve biodiversity and local ecosystems has made a significant contribution to increasing fish numbers in local bodies of water.