to Tokyo Gas and Tokyo Electric Power Company:
"Petition against the
basic agreement to purchase liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Sakhalin
II oil/natural gas development project"
June 6, 2003
TOKYO GAS Co., Ltd.
Mr. Kunio Anzai, Chairman
Mr. Hideharu Uehara, President
The Tokyo Electric Power Company,
Mr. Shigemi Tamura, Chairman
Petition against the basic agreement to purchase liquefied natural gas (LNG)
from the Sakhalin II oil/natural gas development project
The Sakhalin II project has been using irresponsible development methods with slack prevention-and-response measures for possible oil spills. Both local and international experts and NGOs believe that the project is disastrous for the environment, societies and economy in the Sakhalin and Hokkaido area. Its lack of transparency vis-a-vis both information and public participation is also a serious problem. Despite the fact that Japanese citizens and NGOs had specifically requested you not to, you, Tokyo Gas Co., entered into the LNG purchase agreement with Sakhalin Energy Investment Co. (SEIC), the operating body of the project in the middle of May 2003. You should recognize that the agreement has put the environmental, social and economical situations of Sakhalin and Hokkaido in serious danger by accelerating the project forward without having resolved all the issues. We therefore demand, in the strongest terms possible, the following:
1. Revoke the LNG purchase agreement with SEIC immediately.
2. Do not close any contract with SEIC until it complies with both
Russian laws and the best available oil/gas
development standards for disaster prevention and response measures
used in Alaska and the North Sea.
3. Do not enter into any purchase agreement with SEIC until it takes
proper measures to eliminate all impact
in the following areas:
The habitat of the western pacific gray whale, an endangered species,
is threatened by water pollution from the illegal disposal of drilling
wastes and by noise and vibrations from the drilling. The oil and
gas fields are the feeding habitats of approximately 100 gray whales
that are categorized as "Endangered" by IUCN and the Japanese Fishery
Steller's sea eagles and Armstrong's Sandpipers, which build their nests in the northeast part of Sakhalin Island, are both listed in several Red Data Books . They are highly likely to be devastatingly impacted by anthropogenic disturbances to their nesting grounds, as well as food-chain concentration from water pollution and oil spills.
The lives of the indigenous peoples of Sakhalin center around fish,
and thus they will be in deep trouble when approximately 1000 spawning
rivers for salmon and other fish are disturbed or destroyed by underground
pipelines cutting through them.
There will also be a considerable burden on the lives of people in Hokkaido if a major oil spill occurs and decimates the local fishing industry and economy. Hokkaido produces about 140 billion yen (approximately 1.2 billion US$) from the coastal fishing alone, which makes up some 26% of the national turnout.
SEIC is evading its financial responsibilities to compensate its
illegal disposal of drilling wastes and other emissions, as well as
the costs involved in preventing and responding to oil spill accidents.
These environmental costs are in effect imposed upon the Russian government,
and will be greater than the economic earnings for Russia. In addition,
due to the inequities of the Product Sharing Agreement between SEIC
and the Russian government, citizens in Sakhalin and other parts of
Russia haven't benefited from the project.
(4) Lack of transparency in information and public participation
SEIC has not disclosed important information, such as the environmental
monitoring data and condition settings for its oil spill simulations.
The public hearing organized at Sakhalin by SEIC in December 2001
was totally inadequate; it was not a continuous discussion with the
necessary stakeholders and the results from the discussion were not
reflected within the project. Though Japan will also be affected by
the project, neither public discussion nor preparation for such discussion
has been implemented in an appropriate form.
Should these environmental, social and economical inequities continue,
irreversible damage to the environment and people in the region will
definitely escalate. Tokyo Gas Co. will inevitably receive international
criticism for pushing such a defective project forward by closing
the LNG purchase agreement. We strongly request that you do not rely
solely on the information and opinions provided by SEIC, but actively
look into other sources, such as concerned NGOs and specialists as
well, and reconsider the handling of this problem project.