Nord Stream 2 AG, the developer of a new natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea to supply Russian gas to the key EU market, has published a draft environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the project in Russia.
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The draft report describes the findings of an assessment of the Nord Stream 2 project impacts on the atmosphere, water bodies, geological conditions, biotic and other environmental elements, as well as on the regional socio-economic conditions in the area affected by the project activities. In line with international best practice, the report includes an assessment of the cumulative impacts of the project and other developments taking place within the same timeframe, within the area of influence of the project. As part of the EIA, a set of environmental measures have been developed with the aim of minimising potential impacts and reducing the risk of incidents. The environmental monitoring programme presented in the report was developed taking into account the successful experience of the Nord Stream project, which has been in operation for more than five years.
Based on the comprehensive analysis of route options, the Narva Bay route through the southern, marginal part of the Kurgalsky reserve in the Kingisepp district of the Leningrad region has been defined as the preferred option for the Russian landfall due to its lower environmental and social impact.
Gregory Vilchek, Head of the Russia EIA and Permitting Group at Nord Stream 2 AG, said: "The EIA documentation will bring together more than 5 years of surveys that were carried out for the project by leading scientific organisations, including institutes from the Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg State University and State Scientific Research Institute for the Freshwater Fishing Industry (GosNIORKh). It also incorporates data on the state of the environment from environmental organisations, including the intergovernmental Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), which protects the marine environment in the Baltic Sea."
The comprehensive surveys of the proposed route are the most detailed and complete ever carried out in this region. They have helped significantly expand the base of knowledge about the southern part of the Kurgalsky reserve and the adjacent Gulf of Finland. The researchers also identified and examined a control reference site with identical habitat conditions to the main corridor, located south of the proposed pipeline route. Comparison with the reference site will guarantee the reliability and verifiability of the results of the monitoring programme during construction of the gas pipeline.
The highly detailed offshore surveys also went beyond the requirements of Russian legislation. At Estonia's request, three layers of soil samples were analysed separately (0 - 2 cm, 2 - 10 cm, 10 - 30 cm), making it possible to obtain the most accurate data for all 45 parameters analysed. Beyond the requirements of legislation, aerial surveys of marine mammals were conducted in addition to mandatory boat surveys. Furthermore, experts from GosNIORKh conducted research to identify spawning grounds of Baltic herring and other fish in Narva Bay.
"The results of the preliminary environmental impact assessment show that, given implementation of the planned environmental protection measures, the Nord Stream 2 project will not have a significant negative impact on the environment, provided that the activities are carried out in accordance with the requirements of international and Russian environmental legislation," concluded the draft EIA report's team of expert authors from FRECOM Ltd., one of the leading independent Russian companies working in the field of environmental and industrial safety.
"The set of measures arranged as part of the Nord Stream 2 project are sufficient to ensure minimal impact on the natural environment," said Andrey Pedchenko, Director of GosNIORKh.
The draft EIA report has been published on the Nord Stream 2 website and is available at public liaison offices in Kingisepp, Bolshoye Kuzyomkino, Kingiseppsky and Ust-Luga. It will be available for public review for 60 days. In accordance with Russian law, a public hearing on the report will be held 30 days after the date of its publication in Kingisepp in the Leningrad region.
Nord Stream 2 AG is committed to open dialogue with the public and the expert community. The draft report will be discussed with environmental experts and representatives of environmental NGOs in a series of focus group seminars.
Once the public consultation process is complete, Nord Stream 2 AG will prepare a final EIA report that will take into account comments from the public for submission to the state environmental authorities.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldpipelines.com/project-news/07082017/nord-stream-2-ag-publishes-draft-eis-report-for-pipeline/