Oil companies Rosneft and Statoil have agreed to work together, to protect the Arctic shelf environment during oil exploration and reduce the impact of oil and gas activities on indigenous populations and climate change.

Management board president and chairman of Rosneft Igor Sechin and the president and CEO of Statoil, Helge Lund, signed the Declaration on Protection of the Environment and Biodiversity for Oil and Gas Exploration and Development on the Russian Arctic Continental Shelf.

Statoil said that the initiative to sign the Declaration came from Rosneft as the unique ecosystems and resources of the Arctic environment call for special protective measures.

Rosneft’s Igor Sechin said that the company put a high priority on environmental protection issues while planning the Russian Arctic exploration.

"We intend to sign this Declaration with all our partners before we launch any substantial activity in the Arctic to make sure everyone is governed by the same principles," Sechin added.

Statoil president and CEO Helge Lund said: "The purpose of the Declaration reflects Statoil’s values and our commitment to safeguarding health, safety and the environment in our operations on a daily basis."

As part of the declaration, the partners will conduct coordinated activities, such as the establishment of a dedicated coordination centre, and comply with the principles of the convention on biological diversity and the upholding of the standards set by IPIECA – the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues.

The coordination centre will be formed jointly with the participation of representatives of Roskosmos, the Ministry of Transport of The Russian Federation and the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergency Management and Natural Disasters Response (EMERCOM), Statoil said.

Rosneft is also hoping to strike bilateral cooperation deals with EMERCOM, the Russian Ministry of Transport and Roskosmos, as part of the Declaration that aims to constantly monitor changes over the landscape and seas of the Arctic.

Image: The Declaration will help reduce the impact of oil and gas activities on indigenous populations and climate change. Photo courtesy of Patrick Kelley.