South Stream Transport submitted the draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report for the Turkish Sector of the South Stream Offshore Pipeline to the countries’ Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation. As a result of the design and management of the Project, construction and operation of the pipeline in the Turkish Exclusive Economic Zone is not expected to have a major environmental impact.
The EIA Report has been prepared by independent Turkish and international consultants. In line with Turkish environmental regulations, it contains an assessment of potential impacts of the Project on the environment, including seabed geology, water quality and marine ecology. The Report concludes that the Project is not expected to have any major impacts on marine habitats, mammals, seabirds or fisheries.
Environmental experts also assessed the potential effects on the seabed and performed deep-sea surveys to ensure that the pipeline route will not impact objects of cultural heritage value, such as shipwrecks.
The pipeline will be laid more than 110 kilometres from the Turkish coast, in waters up to 2,200 metres deep. Due to the anoxic nature of the Black Sea environment, with little to no oxygen below 100-200 metres, hardly any life is found at these depths. In these waters, pipeline construction is not expected to affect marine habitats or fishing industries.
“There will be no construction activities at or near the Turkish coast and pipeline construction will go mostly unnoticed” said Oleg Aksyutin, CEO of South Stream Transport B.V., adding: “The assessment is the result of years of surveys and studies by a team of Turkish and international experts. We have taken utmost care to take into account all aspects of the Project and I am confident that it will not result in any environmental damage.”
Ministry of Environment to evaluate the assessment
Following publication, the draft EIA Report will be evaluated by a technical committee appointed by the Turkish Ministry of the Environment and Urbanisation.
In May 2013, South Stream Transport submitted an EIA Application File containing a preliminary impact assessment for the Turkish Sector. Government bodies and other experts were asked to provide feedback on the Application File, and a public hearing was organized in the coastal city of Sinop by the Turkish Ministry of environment. The results of these consultations were considered in the development of the draft EIA Report.
Press Release, December 23, 2013; Image: Gazprom