Shell and Total in Spotlight Over Russian Gas Trading

"It is for governments to decide on the incredibly difficult trade-offs that must be made"

Alliance News 3 July, 2023 | 9:24AM
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Russian troops

Energy giants TotalEnergies SE and Shell PLC on Sunday defended activities linked to Russia after a critical report into their trading in natural gas despite the war in Ukraine.

The campaign group Global Witness said TotalEnergies was the third-biggest player in Russian liquified natural gas last year and Shell the fourth, behind two Russian companies.

The report focussed on Britain's Shell, after Global Witness said it had looked previously at TotalEnergies of France.

"Russia's LNG exports are helping to finance the country's war in Ukraine and in 2022 were worth an estimated USD21 billion," it said.

"Few companies have helped this trade more than Shell, and Global Witness estimates that Shell has made hundreds of millions trading Russian LNG last year.

"Yet despite the war crimes this trade helps finance, it is legal. Shell, the UK, and the EU should immediately halt it."

Both companies said they were tied to ongoing contracts despite pulling out of Russian partnerships after Ukraine was invaded last year.

"Shell has stopped buying Russian LNG on the spot market, but still has some long-term contractual commitments," a Shell spokesperson said, insisting that all laws and sanction restrictions were being respected.

"There is a dilemma between putting pressure on the Russian government over its atrocities in Ukraine and ensuring stable, secure energy supplies," it said.

"It is for governments to decide on the incredibly difficult trade-offs that must be made."

In Paris, TotalEnergies emphasised "its duty to contribute to the security of Europe's gas supply from the Yamal LNG plant [in Siberia] under long-term contracts that it must honour as long as European governments do not impose sanctions against Russian gas".

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