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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sakhalin Official Supports Protests Against Shell

LONDON -- Sakhalin Governor Ivan Malakhov supported ecologists' protests against a venture led by Royal Dutch Shell, which plans to invest $20 billion in the Far East to make liquefied natural gas, because of possible environmental damage.

Malakhov met Thursday with officials from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the capital of the Sakhalin region, the governor's press service said in a statement. The bank is holding public consultations on Shell's Sakhalin-2 project before approving a loan to fund the project.

More than 300 ecologists held a demonstration on Sakhalin Island on Jan. 28 in front of the gates of the proposed LNG plant.

They were protesting "against the widespread damage," Sakhalin Environment Watch said last week.

Mitsubishi and Mitsui, Japan's largest trading companies, are Shell's partners in the project.

"The main disputes about the project are caused by untimely Sakhalin-2 participants' reaction to incurring problems, which quickly get public reaction,'' Malakhov told the bankers.

Malakhov joined last week's protesters, who included fishermen and local citizens, the environmental group said. "This was the first time that the regional governor has publicly backed public concerns about the Sakhalin-2 mega project,'' the group said.

Sakhalin Energy Investment, the project operator, said on Jan. 26 that it did not support the protest. The company, in which Shell holds a 55 percent stake, outlined in the statement its measures to cut environmental impact and preserve bio-resources. The demonstration "will neither contribute to the strengthening of the dialogue on these issues, nor help to resolve their concerns,'' Sakhalin Energy said last week.