The paper describes the preparation of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for an oil exploration and production (E&P) project in the Russian Federation of Republics.

Companies operating worldwide encounter a wide range of factors determining environmental actions. However, there is a worldwide trend towards more coherent regulations.

In the past, Russian industry has not adopted a comprehensive environmental management approach. Environmental problems were treated on an ad hoc basis. EIA was designed to obtain permits, it was not part of any development or management process.

EIA in Russia was and is part of the overall economic and technical feasibility study and is focused on the quantitative assessment of potential pollution, on resource utilisation and on alternative resource revenue loss.

Environmental awareness in the population has led to an strong insistence on proper environmental protection and conservation.

Indigenous people have a strong position in Russia. They have statutory land rights and any economic activity in these areas requires their approval.

The formula for dealing successfully with situations as described in this paper has three basic elements:

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    high standards of environmental performance as a starting point;

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    a comprehensive and systematic analysis according to established EIA principles, to identify potential environmental issues, and

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    a continuous dialogue with all parties involved.

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