ExxonMobil | Booming Business and Fragile Biodiversity Coexist on a Remote Russian Island


A hazel grouse at Exxon Sakalin, Russia.

Once a highly militarized eastern outpost of the Soviet Union, loaded with aircraft, missiles and guns, Sakhalin Island is now defined by its booming oil and gas hub, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, one of the wealthiest cities in Russia.

Sakhalin Island, located in southeast Russia north of Japan, is home to ExxonMobil’s Sakhalin site, a joint venture of Russian, Japanese, Indian and American participants operated by Exxon Neftegas Limited, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil. The site is an upstream oil and gas production facility employing over 500 people.

The Sakhalin Island taiga ecoregion covers most of Sakhalin Island, which lies in the Pacific Ocean separated only by Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan. The region consists of coniferous and mixed broad leaf forest landscape, with mixed larch forests at the lower elevations and shrubs at higher elevations. The vegetation is heavily influenced by a maritime climate that is relatively warmer than the colder continental landscape in Siberia to the west. The island is connected to the mainland by ice bridges in the winter; therefore, connectivity of species exists.

With the influx of thousands of oil-industry internationals and increased urbanization, flora and fauna species are under constant and immediate threat of survival due to habitat loss.

As such, more than US$ 3.4 billion has been invested to protect local wildlife, habitats and land uses. In particular, the employee team at the Sakhalin site developed and manages a conservation program for the protection and promotion of forests in the area. During construction of the facilities, effort was made to preserve some of the existing 100-year-old Japanese yew trees, evergreen trees native to Japan, Korea, northeast China and the extreme southeast of Russia. Since 2007, an additional 51 Japanese red pine, Japanese yew and Sargent’s cherry trees have been planted through annual efforts, creating a total of 220 trees in the Yuzhno urban forest. ExxonMobil partners with the Sakhalin Botanical Garden and the Yuzhno Green Committee in these planting efforts.

Additional conservation projects managed by the site team include education and awareness, marine intertidal and landscaping, as well as participation in a research program in which prominent whale experts have acquired unique data on endangered western gray whales in the region. Through these efforts, ExxonMobil is committed to maintaining Sakhalin Island as a beautiful and unique landscape of forests, streams and wildlife – one that exists in harmony with the prosperity and growth of the region.

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Quick Facts

Site Name:Sakhalin
Categories:Avian, Awareness and Community Engagement, Education & Awareness, Forest, Habitat, Landscaping, Marine Intertidal, Species Management
Company Name:ExxonMobil
Site Location:Sakhalin, Russia
Partners:Sakhalin Botanical Garden, Yuzhno Green Committee
Certification Since:2012
Certification Level:Silver Certified
WHC Index Link:Search for project

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