Product has been added to the basket

Geology and Ecology: The evolution of a megaproject on Sakhalin Island

Sakhalin Island has the ingredients for tremendous geological and ecological challenges – an area isolated in sub-arctic conditions, with moving ice floes, numerous seismic faultlines, and ecological habitats across the landscape and sea that hosts vulnerable species, including the great Western gray whales. Lying beneath all that is total resources of some four billion barrels of oil equivalent, which could substantially contribute to meet the ever-increasing global demand for energy.

This is the setting for a success story called the Sakhalin II Project, a technical marvel of many industry firsts, built and operated in those extreme conditions. Equivalent in size of five world-scale projects, Sakhalin II is the world’s biggest integrated oil and gas project that, when running at full capacity at 9.6 million tonnes per annum, can add 5% to the world’s current liquefied natural gas (LNG) capacity.

From north to south of the island, Sakhalin II is an interlinked network of unique engineering feats achieved by a talented pool of local and international resources. The project involves the installation of two offshore platforms, a 300km network of underwater pipelines, two parallel 800km onshore oil and gas pipelines, an onshore processing facility, an oil export terminal, and Russia’s first LNG plant. Technological innovation in Sakhalin II ensures its survival in harsh climate conditions, making platforms capable of withstanding enormous pressure from ice floes and major earthquakes. Sakhalin II also moulded its design and activities into the local environment and climate, conserving nature and respecting culture.

This lecture will demonstrate how Sakhalin II not only endured but also tapped into the elements to achieve a technological masterpiece, and emerged as a sustainable model of future projects. It is a venture like no other.


Chris Finlayson, Shell


Chris Finlayson is the Shell Projects and Technology Executive Vice President for Global Solutions Upstream. As such, he is responsible for front-end project development across Shell’s portfolio.

Born in 1956, Chris graduated with a First Class Bachelor’s degree in Physics/Geology from Manchester University in the United Kingdom. In 1977, he joined Shell and was posted to Aberdeen. The years 1982 to 1996 took Chris to Brunei, Turkey, London and Nigeria. In 1996 he returned to Aberdeen and took the role of Deputy Managing Director of Shell UK Exploration and Production from 1998-2000. He was Managing Director of Brunei Shell Petroleum from 2000-2003, and then became Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria and Executive Vice President for Exploration and Production for Africa. From 2005 to September 2009, Chris was Executive Vice President for Exploration and Production for Russia and the Caspian and Chairman of Sakhalin Energy Investment Company.