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Nord Stream 2 launches Biodiversity Study in the Kurgalsky peninsula

  • Biodiversity study in the Kurgalsky peninsula is being carried out by Saint Petersburg-based EcoProjekt company
  • The study is performed as part of Nord Stream 2 commitment to the Environmental and Social standards of the International Finance Corporation
  • The detailed studies will help identify potential areas for ecological improvement and offset measures and contribute to the scientific knowledge on the Kurgalsky peninsula

June 15, 2017 | Zug | Nord Stream 2, the developer of a new natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea, has started a biodiversity study in the Kurgalsky peninsula. It will be performed by CJSC EcoProjekt, a Saint Petersburg-based environmental consultancy. The detailed investigation of flora, fauna and geobotanical features will cover approximately 320 hectares, which are representative of the diverse biotopes in the Kurgalsky peninsula. Over 20 scientists from St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region will dedicate about 6,000 man-hours during a period of 6 months to study lower and vascular plants, amphibians, reptiles, birds and terrestrial mammals as well as geomorphological features of the Kurgalsky peninsula.

Nord Stream 2 is committed to implementing the project in compliance with the Environmental and Social standards of the International Finance Corporation (IFC PS), which ensure compliance with the highest sustainability standards. As part of this commitment, Nord Stream 2 will ensure that the proposed pipeline project causes no significant adverse impacts and has a beneficial effect, or net gain, on the biodiversity of the Kurgalsky peninsula. To achieve this goal, the project developer must fully understand the ecological characteristics of the area where the project will take place and of the adjacent areas that have similar ecological characteristics. Based on the outcomes of the biodiversity study, Nord Stream 2 will identify potential areas of ecological improvement and develop offset measures to compensate the limited impacts that the project will have within the construction area.

This process goes beyond the legislative requirements of the Russian Federation and it is a mandatory condition for the project to be eligible to receive a loan from international financial institutions. To ensure full adherence to the IFC PS, the survey results will be closely scrutinized by the independent consultants that have already been working on project documentations at the request of lending agencies since 2016.

The results of the biodiversity survey will greatly expand the scientific knowledge on the Kurgalsky peninsula, complementing the extensive data that has already been gathered by Nord Stream 2 in 2015 and 2016 and that will be included in the Environmental Impact Assessment report, which is being prepared in line with Russian legislation. The information will be shared with the competent authorities as well as the scientific community and non-governmental organizations. Such knowledge could further support efforts to manage the Kurgalsky reserve in a sustainable and socially responsible way.

The results of the survey will also form the basis for Nord Stream 2 Environmental and Community Initiatives program, which foresees a phased investment in the order of 30 Million EUR. It shall promote the conservation objectives of the Kurgalsky reserve and the welfare of the communities that live within and in the immediate proximity of the peninsula.

Mr. Vasily Pchelintsev, zoologist, leading specialist, CJSC EcoProjekt, underscored: “The ongoing Kurgalsky peninsula biodiversity study, together with the available ecological and engineering survey results, will help accurately assess possible risks and potential adverse impacts of the project implementation as well as further elaborate a program of nature conversation and compensation measures. Besides, new data will be obtained on how rare species of flora and fauna are distributed across the entire Kurgalsky peninsula, which is undoubtedly valuable for the scientific and expert community.”

Dr. Alessandro Casartelli, team leader of the Lenders’ Independent Environmental and Social Consultants, Arcadis NV, noted:  “Arcadis has been retained to carry out the independent environmental and social due diligence audit of the Nord Stream 2 project and verify that the project complies with the environmental and social performance standards of the International Finance Corporation. The due diligence process has been ongoing since September 2016 and will extend throughout 2017. So far, we have witnessed a scrupulous approach to environmental and social management and great dedication of Nord Stream 2 AG to this topic.”

Dr. Antonio Santaniello, Environmental and Social Manager, Nord Stream 2 AG, said: “This study is essential to ensure the sustainability of the Nord Stream 2 project in the Kurgalsky peninsula. It will provide us with an extensive knowledge of the ecological characteristics of the area, beyond the mere footprint of our proposed project, and will enable us to make a long-term contribution to the conservation objectives of the area.”

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