18:08 GMT04 August 2020
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    Oleg Shein, a lawmaker in Russia's southern region of Astrakhan, said that there is lack of control over the LUKoil's oil and gas exploration activities in the Caspian Sea.

    ASTRAKHAN (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — Russian company LUKoil's activities in the Caspian Sea may cause earthquakes, damaging biological resources, including sturgeons, a critically endangered fish species, a lawmaker in Russia's southern region of Astrakhan said.

    LUKoil is one of the companies exploring oil and gas resources in the Caspian Sea, access to which is a subject of disputes between the five Caspian littoral states. The problem of water pollution has become particularly acute given that the sturgeon, one of the most precious and ancient fish in the world, is on the verge of extinction.

    "There are general concerns over LUKoil activities that may damage earthquake resistance of the Caspian Sea, because the amount of the extracted hydrocarbon crude is considerable," Oleg Shein told reporters.

    According to Shein, there is lack of control over the companies exploring oil and gas in the Caspian Sea.

    "Russia's Federal Service for Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare has some problems with conducting irregular checks. When they finish all the coordination procedures with the public prosecution office, all harmful chemicals in air or water already disappear," Shein said.

    Meanwhile, Astrakhan's Deputy Agriculture Minister Yuri Tuzhilkin said that local authorities did not have any data on how much damage LUKoil caused to the Caspian Sea.

    Experts say that chemicals running into the water after oil extraction are a major reason why the sturgeon population is declining. Widespread poaching and shallowing of the sea are seen as other factors.

    Sturgeon, which is the source of black caviar, a famous Russian delicacy, could become extinct by 2020.


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