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TotalEnergies: Oil Companies May be Stuck in Russia

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Oil companies like Shell and BP may have to hold on to their Russian assets despite saying they will leave the country in protest against the invasion of Ukraine. But, that said, the CEO of the French group TotalEnergies.

 

According to Patrick Pouyanné, none of the competitors who have said they will leave Russia has done so also because they do not know how to do that, according to the TotalEnergies CEO on RTL radio.

Shell and BP have said they will leave Russia altogether but have so far not taken concrete steps on how to achieve that. Unlike the competition, TotalEnergies has said it will retain its stakes in companies and certain projects in the country, refusing criticism from Greenpeace and the Church of England.

TotalEnergies owns about a fifth of the Russian gas producer Novatek. The French also own, directly or through Novatek, major interests in Russian liquefied natural gas projects. In total, the group has invested nearly $13 billion in these Russian installations and has no plans to sell them, Pouyanné told RTL. After that, however, further investments will be stopped.

“These factories will continue to operate whether I leave or not. If I withdraw, I will give $13 billion to Russia for zero because nobody wants to buy these factories today,” Pouyanné said. “Do you want me to give up assets in Russia to enrich Russians we have placed under sanctions? I will not give in to that because that is a delusion of the people.”

TotalEnergies will stop buying Russian crude oil and diesel by the end of the year when its contracts expire. As for long-term gas contracts, a unilateral halt to the purchase would mean Total would have to pay billions of dollars in damages to Russian companies unless they are placed under government sanctions, Pouyanné said.

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