Oil and indigenous people in sub-Arctic Russia: Rethinking equity and governance in benefit sharing agreements

Maria Tysiachniouk, Laura A. Henry, Machiel Lamers, Jan P.M. van Tatenhove

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


How can the interests of extractive industries and indigenous communities in the Arctic be balanced through benefit sharing policies? This paper analyses how the international oil consortia of Sakhalin Energy and Exxon Neftegaz Limited (ENL) on Sakhalin Island in Russia have introduced benefit sharing through tripartite partnerships. We demonstrate that the procedural and distributional equity of benefit sharing depend on corporate policies, global standards, pressure from international financial institutions, and local social movements connected in a governance generating network. Sakhalin Energy was profoundly influenced by international financial institutions’ global rules related to environmental and indigenous people's interests. The benefit sharing arrangement that evolved under these influences resulted in enhanced procedural equity for indigenous people, but has not prevented conflict with and within communities. In contrast, ENL was not significantly influenced by international financial institutions. Its more flexible and limited benefit sharing arrangement was shaped predominantly by global corporate policies, pressure from the regional government and the influence of Sakhalin Energy's model. The paper closes with policy recommendations on benefit sharing arrangements between extractive industries and indigenous communities across Arctic states that could be further developed by the Arctic Council Sustainable Development Working Group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-152
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Benefit sharing
  • Indigenous people
  • Oil consortia
  • Procedural and distributional equity

Field of science

  • Law
  • Social and economic geography


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