In view of the importance of biodiversity conservation, especially in vulnerable natural areas, the Company has undertaken not to conduct operations in World Heritage sites and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Protected Areas of categories I–IV. At each stage of a project, we strive to balance any impacts that our operations might have and we implement a variety of projects and activities to preserve ecosystems.
In 17 years of observation, there have been no significant impacts from activities of the Company’s facilities on the marine environment that would require response measures.
The remediation of oil-contaminated land is carried out in all areas of the Company’s operations. In 2019, 56.6 hectares of land were handed over to the State Commission (in 2018: 50.3 hectares), where all stages of rehabilitation had been completed; as a result, the content of oil products was reduced to the required level.
The remediation comprises the following stages:
- technical (collection of as many pollutants as possible from the surface, agro-technical manipulations, application of oil-oxidizing bio-preparations, loosening for better aeration)
- biological (sowing seeds or seedlings, fertilizing).
If the terrain implies washing out and further spreading of residual contamination, the contaminated layer is removed and taken to specialized bioremediation sites, and clean soil is brought to the reclaimed site where biological remediation is carried out.
Biodiversity conservation projects
In 2019, LUKOIL became a member of the Working Group of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation for the implementation of the federal project “Conservation of Biological Diversity and Development of Ecotourism.”
The Company initiated round tables on the conservation of saiga, one of the oldest representatives of fauna. At the end of the events, a decision was made to launch a new project jointly with the Ministry. It will be executed in the “Black Lands” nature reserve in the Republic of Kalmykia (which has the status of a world-class biosphere reserve) and the “Stepnoi” reserve in the Astrakhan Region.
LUKOIL has a longstanding working relationship with these reserves, providing support as part of the Competition for Social and Cultural Projects. Thanks to several grants, the level of poaching in Kalmykia has been reduced, in particular through educational events for residents.
In 2020, a saiga conservation action plan will be elaborated and incorporated in the Environmental Safety Program. A long-time partner of the Company - WWF-Russia - will join in the implementation of the plan.
LUKOIL-Nizhnevolzhskneft is developing oil and gas fields in the northern sector of the Caspian Sea. Despite long-term human influence, the Caspian region still has one of the most valuable ecosystems in the world, and the marine environment and coastal areas exhibit high biodiversity. There are also valuable wetlands in the Volga River delta in the northern Caspian Sea.
In order to mitigate negative impacts on animals and birds in production areas, a rehabilitation facility for animals affected by oil pollution was set up with LUKOIL support. The facility is located in the delta of the Volga River at the production base of the Astrakhan Directorate of Specially Protected Areas. It has a mobile rescue station, a receiving and cleaning station for contaminated animals and birds, and enclosures for keeping them. Trained employees of the facility take no more than three hours to get to an animal or bird that needs help.
Rescue operations are managed by the Animal Rescue Group, which is part of LUKOIL-Nizhnevolzhskneft Emergency Commission. Since its creation, the facility has been used solely for training purposes, as no rescue operations have so far been required.
LUKOIL Uzbekistan Operating Company LLC operates in the Republic of Uzbekistan under production sharing agreements for the Kandym group of fields, the KhauzakShady and Kungrad, as well as for sites in the South-West Gissar and Ustyurt region.
Production facilities are located in the desert zone and in foothill areas, in close proximity to a state ornithological reserve (Dengizkul Lake, a water object on the Ramsar Convention list) and the Khoja-Davlet ornithological territory.
Over the seven years of LUKOIL operations in these territories, programs have been implemented to preserve the ecosystem of Lake Dengizkul (initially, the action plan was developed in 2012 and revised and updated in 2016) and the Khoja-Davlet territory (since 2016).
In the opinions of ornithologists, Lake Dengizkul retains its importance as a habitat for rare species listed in the Red Book of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and an area where waterfowl rest during migration (over 20 thousand birds)Endangered species include the Dalmatin pelican, the stiff-tailed duck, the white-eyed pochard, the marbled duck, the velvet scoter, the pale harrier, the imperial eagle, the houbara bustard, the black-tailed godwit and curlew, the white pelican, the little cormorant, the little egret, the mute swan, the spoonbill, the glory ibis, the flamingo, the steppe eagle, and the white-tailed eagle.. LUKOIL’s biodiversity conservation program in these territories has helped mitigate the impact of production activities on local fauna. The survey results are annually presented to stakeholders and the State Committee for Nature Protection of Uzbekistan.