Oil and gas development in the Orenburg region of the Volga-Ural steppe zone: Qualifying and quantifying disturbance regimes
This paper examines environmental disturbances related to energy development in the Orenburg region through a two-pronged approach. First, it ranks environmental performance per 25 administrative districts based on multidimensional clustering of 10 diagnostic indicators. Second, it examines land-use and land-cover (LULC) patterns in nine western administrative districts by classifying Landsat imagery and quantifying surface disturbance for the year 2001. Spatial analysis and descriptive statistics help identify the most disturbed administrative units. Findings from the diagnostic indicators suggest that older fields in the western units showed the greatest amount of disturbance due to the age of the fields and related infrastructure, lack of maintenance, and the use of older technologies. These fields were also linked to declining production. Operations in the middle zone, which were younger, showed fewer disturbances, while the youngest southern fields showed the least. Findings from the landscape study showed that agricultural activity is a major driver of LULC patterns in the western region, with oil and gas activities serving a much smaller role. Methods and findings can be applied toward making extractive activities more sustainable during the various phases of expansion, new development and reclamation. © 2013 Taylor and Francis.
International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Mjachina, Baynard, C. W., & Chibilyev, A. A. (2014). Oil and gas development in the Orenburg region of the Volga-Ural steppe zone: qualifying and quantifying disturbance regimes. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 21(2), 111–126. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504509.2013.867908