Oil giant Shell is set to enter a crucial offshore construction phase in the development of its $20bn [£11.2bn] oil and gas pipeline in the fragile waters off Sakhalin Island off Eastern Russia. Wildlife campaigners, including groups such as WWF, say the price of the pipeline could be the extinction of the critically endangered population of western grey whales.
They are demanding that Shell abandon its plans to begin the work, claiming that an international panel of scientists has concluded that the loss of a single breeding mother could result in the extinction of the species. They are also putting pressure on the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) whose latest consultation on a planned $300m loan for the project ended in London on Friday.
James Leaton of WWF said Shell had failed to make its case. “Shell must stop this project now and assess the condition of the whale population this summer … Shell is ignoring the science, and the EBRD cannot guarantee the future of the whales, so they should not finance the project.”