Gray Whale Monitoring Programme

Every year during the ice-free period, a small group of grey whales from the Sea of Okhotsk feeds off the north-eastern coast of Sakhalin Island, near the Piltun-Astokhskoye field. The population has been assigned Category 1 "Endangered" status in the Red Book of the Russian Federation. Therefore, during marine operations, special environmental protection measures are taken for this marine mammal species.

Since 1997, Sakhalin Energy has been funding the Grey Whale Monitoring Programme jointly with the Sakhalin-1 Operator. The programme will help expand the scientific knowledge base about grey whales, as well as about the factors affecting them and their habitats.

The purpose of the programme is to diagnose and monitor grey whales and their habitat in the feeding area to develop and implement mitigation measures.

Information obtained through the monitoring is used to:
• develop measures to minimise the impact of Sakhalin Energy’s operations on grey whales and their habitats (in line with environmental requirements), and
• assess the effectiveness of implemented measures and update them when required.

Since the beginning of its activities on the shelf of Sakhalin, the Company has developed and is implementing a Marine Mammal Protection Plan to assess and mitigate risks to both grey whales and other marine mammals during marine operations.

Special measures under the Plan:
• commencement of construction and noisy activities as early as possible in the summer season, before the start of the main feeding period of grey whales,
• use of low-noise vessels,
• vessel traffic along specially designated marine corridors that are far from the feeding areas of whales,
• limiting the vessel speed and maintaining a safe distance between vessels and the animals, and
• availability of marine mammal observers onboard vessels.

In 2015, 2018, and 2022, Sakhalin Energy successfully conducted 4D seismic surveys in the Piltun-Astokhskoye area. Protection measures have been developed and implemented successfully to avoid the impact of noise on grey whales.

No incidents involving marine mammals have been registered offshore north-east Sakhalin since the launch of the Sakhalin-2 Project.