LONDON (UK) – Environmental campaigners from Russia, Japan and Europe today (Friday 16th April) staged a mock whale funeral with the skeleton of a pacific grey whale outside the head office of London’s European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to protest at the threat posed to the Western Pacific grey whale by plans to expand oil and gas extraction in the region.  The EBRD is being asked to fund the expansion of the Sakhalin II project.

The project, led by Shell, with involvement from Mitsubishi and Mitsui, will be the biggest ever integrated oil and gas project, and the biggest liquid natural gas (LNG) processing plant ever built. But the project has attracted considerable criticism because of the project’s impacts on the last remaining population of Western Pacific Grey Whales and on the island’s wild salmon stocks.  The fish spawn in rivers on the island. Campaign groups are calling for the EBRD, which is financed through taxpayers’ money, to block funding for the project as currently proposed.  They have issued a set of demands which the bank is now considering.  The groups are in London to press EBRD to meet these minimal demands at the bank’s annual meeting which takes place on 18-19th April.

Friends of the Earth Campaigner Nick Rau said:

“The Sakhalin Project poses a very real threat to the last remaining Western Pacific Grey Whales.  The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, funded from taxpayers money, should not be funding such a project, which not only threatens an endangered species, but also poses a threat to the livelihoods of the fishing community on Sakhalin.  We want to ensure that public money is not spent on such damaging oil projects as proposed on Sakhalin.”

Dmitry Lisitsyn, Chairman of Sakhalin Environment Watch said:

“Shell promised that it would improve our local economy and minimise damage to the environment by operating to the highest standards.  But we can already see that these promises have been broken.  The project is damaging our environment, and our wild salmon spawning rivers are under extreme threat.  People on the island have already made their objections clear, but the company is pushing ahead.  The bank must not provide funding until environmental protection has been guaranteed.”


Greig Aitken, CEE Bankwatch Network, Mob: +44 (0)7810 558246

Friends of the Earth Press Office + 44 (0)20 7566 1649