Siberian pipeline irks indigenous group

An indigenous group in north Russia is concerned that Russian gas monopoly Gazprom’s plans for the Siberian gas pipeline through its territory would ruin its hunting and fishing grounds. The indigenous group inhabiting Russia’s northern region of Yakutia has called for the rerouting of the pipeline.

The planned pipeline, which will link Yakutia’s Chayandinskoye oil and gas deposit with the Far Eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk, is to be constructed near an indigenous Evenk settlement.

“We are not against progress or economic development, but we feel like we are the ones who will suffer from this,” RIA Novosti quoted the group as saying in a petition, signed by 213 people. “Our reindeer pastures and hunting sites are being seized, rivers are being poisoned and fish are disappearing.”

Gazprom said an alternative pipeline would be much longer and would cost around 49 billion rubles ($1.67 billion) more in construction expenditures. The Chayandinskoye oil and gas deposit to be developed by Gazprom is one of the largest in Russia, with gas reserves estimated at 1.24 trillion cubic meters and oil and gas condensate reserves of 68.4 billion tons.

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