“The environment impacts of the pipeline construction in the unique in all senses Caspian Sea must be considered primarily. The economic efficiency and the payback of the project must be considered by the countries that plan to invest in it. Meanwhile, the environmental issues concern all the five countries of the Caspian region without exception. All them have the vote,” Russian Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich told reporters speaking of “possible construction of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCP) by Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in case of the political and financial support of the European Union and the United States,” the ministry told EADaily.
Lukashevich said the Caspian Sea is extremely sensitive to any environment changes that may be caused by the construction and operation of pipelines, or “God forbid” by an accident in the system.
The diplomat said fuel is pumped through the gas main under high pressure and a natural calamity or man-caused disasters may become a reason for a serious accident on the gas pipeline under the sea. Lukashevich recalled the large-scale environmental disasters in Chernobyl and the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig located in the Gulf of Mexico.
As to the fact that the EU reports do not mention any environment impacts of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline project, Lukashevich said: “Those reports are based on subjective judging, unfortunately, as politics prevails over ecology. Examination of an infrastructure facility, the operation of which is of critical importance for all the riparian countries, can be considered legitimate and impartial only if all the parties concerned are involved in it. It is noteworthy that the western environmental organizations, with all due respect to their activity, have focused on the environment problems throughout Russia – starting from the polar circle up to the Lake Baykal, but they are blind to the potential threats to nature and people in the Caspian Sea.”
He believes that unilateral actions in the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline could undermine the trust between the Caspian Sea countries. “It’s not ruled out that this is what lobbyists from outside the region are trying to do by offering themselves to be ‘strategic partners’ and promising all kinds of political dividends to the parties of the pipeline," the Ministry reports Lukashevich as saying.
In this light, he recalled that at last year’s Caspian Summit in Astrakhan the leaders of all the five countries said their countries have the right to adopt decision of the most important issues concerning the Caspian region and reaffirmed their solidarity and common responsibility for the future of the Caspian region.
“We believe that the pipeline construction is one of those important issues,” Lukashevich said for conclusion.