Nord Stream 2 AG, the developer of a new pipeline to supply Russian natural gas to the EU market through the Baltic Sea, has submitted the final environmental impact assessment (EIA) report to the Russian Environmental Inspectorate (Rosprirodnadzor) for state environmental expert review. The development of the final EIA report followed the public consultation process based on the draft report published in early August 2017.
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As a responsible project developer, Nord Stream 2 has taken on board many comments and recommendations received from experts and public during the 60 day consultation period. The EIA report has been revised and updated to include, among other points, the following:
- A more detailed impact assessment on the entire area of the Kurgalsky reserve and its ecological characteristics.
- A detailed and aligned list of rare and Red Data Book species and their distribution onshore and offshore.
- A more detailed information on the breeding birds species and communities, including information on colonies and nesting spots.
- Supplementary 2017 research data and Helcom BALSAM data on marine mammals.
- Information on the ice conditions in the Narva Bay to accurately assess the impact on the Baltic ringed seals in the breeding period.
- Updated information on indigenous peoples population in the project area.
- Details on cultural heritage objects.
- A new data on macrophytes and spawning grounds of fish within the Kurgalsky reserve boundaries, following additional research carried out in summer 2017.
All feedback was documented and responded to in the project documentation.
In recognition of the pipeline construction in the sensitive area at the shore-crossing site in Russia and in response to the concerns raised by the public, Nord Stream 2 has developed an innovative construction solution for this onshore section. The new technical solution is tailored to the local environmental conditions. It will reduce the construction corridor and related impacts by some 50%. In the most sensitive habitat, the construction will be performed only within the narrowest feasible construction corridor with a width of 30 m. Upon completion of construction activities, the entire area will be reinstated. A 30 m wide corridor above the pipeline will be maintained free of trees and naturally vegetated.
The new construction solution relies on trench boxes to maintain vertical trench walls and reduce the width of the trench to the bare minimum. Leading international engineers developed the innovative trench construction method after careful consideration of all available technical options and local environmental conditions with the objective to ensure minimal environmental disturbance. The method will allow the installation of the pipeline in a flooded trench, ensuring that groundwater levels during and after construction will be maintained. The amount of excavated material will be reduced by 70% compared to a conventional unsupported trench. Almost no heavy equipment will be used on site for the pipeline’s installation.
Sergey Serdyukov, Chief Technical Officer at Nord Stream 2 AG, stated: “We take our obligation to minimise any environmental impacts very seriously. We have developed the most sustainable, innovative construction method after thorough examination of all available options.”
Having minimised both the construction footprint and environmental impacts, Nord Stream 2 developed a broad range of mitigation and offset measures to compensate potential residual impacts. Thanks to the feedback received from experts during the consultation, the initially planned measure programme was expanded to include the following:
- Pptimisation of the construction schedule taking into account the sensitive periods for birds, fish and marine mammals.
- Installation of six artificial nesting platforms for the white-tailed eagle and other large birds, such as osprey and stork.
- Transplantation of the Red Data Book plants from the construction corridor to other suitable habitats.
- Release of high value fish fry (Atlantic salmon, trout).
- Prevention of invasive alien plant species.
The complete project documentation package has been received by the authorities for state environmental expert review, which is expected to be concluded in early 2018 as a prerequisite for the permits expected later in 2018.
Nord Stream 2 strives to implement the project in a sustainable way and in line with stringent international standards. The company continues an open dialogue with the expert community and public to ensure that all concerns and questions are addressed.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldpipelines.com/project-news/27112017/nord-stream-2-submits-final-eia-report/