In 2006, TNK-BP acquired 3 licenses to develop fields in the Astrakhan Region, two of which – the Vatazhny Severny field and the Kirikilinsky field – are in the sensitive estuary of the Volga River. For this reason, the key aspects of the project included comprehensive ecological support of operations in these fields and interaction and cooperation with concerned parties at all stages.
In 2008, with the financial support of TNK-BP, ecological and landscape mapping of the Volga estuary was carried out in the license areas by environmental NGOs to determine the level of anthropogenic disturbance in the area and to create an interactive map based on interpretng satellite images.
The results of ecological and landscape mapping were used to prepare environmental impact assessment materials and programs for monitoring the Vatazhny Severny and the Kirikilinsky license areas. An ecological justification of seismic exploration work in these areas was presented at the public hearings held in Astrakhan in October 2008.