Experts to access Baltic oil project

  • 2003-01-16

Members of Lithuania's and Kaliningrad Oblast's cooperation council have decided to organize a bilateral expert meeting in order to analyze the environmental threats posed by oil extraction in the Baltic Sea near the Curonian Spit.

Lithuania's Foreign Ministry reported that during a meeting between Kaliningrad Deputy Governor Mikhail Cikel and Lithuanian Foreign Ministry's State Secretary Evaldas Ignatavicius plans by Russia's Lukoil to extract oil in the D-6 oil field in the Baltic Sea were discussed.

As a result of the meeting it was decided to invite experts to assess the environmental aspects of the oil extraction project.

In December Lithuania called for an independent ecological inspection of the project, which envisages extraction of oil in the D-6 (Kravtsovskoye) deposit in the Baltic Sea near the picturesque Curonian Spit.

Representatives of Russian Lukoil's daughter enterprise, Lukoil-Kaliningradmorneft, which will operate the oil deposit, claim that the project is safe and the possibility of accidents is extremely low.

The D-6 oil field is on a Baltic Sea bed just 22 kilometers off the Curonian Spit, a long, narrow stretch of dunes spanning from Lithuania to Kaliningrad region that attracts tens of thousands of tourists annually and 7 kilometers from the Lithuanian-Russian maritime border.

Lithuanian environmentalists have repeatedly expressed concern over the D-6 project's ecological safety. They said that any oil extraction so close to the unique piece of nature, which is listed in the UNESCO list of world heritage, could violate its ecological system.

According to Lukoil, oil extraction at D-6 should be started by the end of 2003 and reach peak capacity - estimated at 1 million tons of crude per year - within several years.