Despite promising to quit, Shell continues to trade Russian gas.
Over a year after promising to leave the Russian energy market, Shell is still selling Russian gas.
In 2022, the company participated in about one-eighth of Russia’s shipborne gas exports, according to research from the advocacy group Global Witness.
Shell was charged with accepting “blood money” by Oleg Ustenko, an advisor to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
The trades, according to Shell, are the outcome of “long-term contractual commitments” and do not contravene any regulations or restrictions.
A massive LNG ship, which can transport more than 160,000 cubic meters of gas compressed into liquid form, recently departed from the port of Sabetta on the Yamal Peninsula in far-northern Russia.
Shell purchased that cargo before it continued on to its final destination of Hong Kong.
According to information gleaned from the Kpler database and examined by Global Witness, it is one of eight LNG cargoes that Shell has purchased from Yamal this year.
According to Global Witness, Shell was one of the top five LNG traders in Russia last year, accounting for 12% of the country’s seaborne LNG trade.
Following the invasion of Ukraine in March 2022, Shell apologized for purchasing a shipment of Russian oil and announced it would stop dealing with Russian gas and oil.
It promised to stop purchasing Russian oil and sell its gas stations and other enterprises there, both of which it has now done. Additionally, it has ceased its collaborative operations with Gazprom, the state-owned energy giant.
A “phased withdrawal from Russian petroleum products, pipeline gas, and LNG” was also announced. But it issued a “complex challenge” warning.
Russian employee of a Shell gas station IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES
Shell stated in the image caption that it would shut down every service station in Russia last year.
Since then, it has continued to receive LNG cargoes from two Russian ports: Yamal and Sakhalin in the far east.
After the Russian government transferred its interests to a local company in September of last year, Shell renounced its position as a small stakeholder in the Sakhalin gas project. Since that time, Shell has not purchased any gas from Sakhalin.
According to the news agency Reuters, it nevertheless upholds the terms of the agreement with the Russian LNG business Novatek, which requires it to purchase 900,000 tonnes of LNG from Yamal per year until the 2030s.
The second-largest gas business in Russia, Novatek, contributes significantly to the budget of the Russian government through its tax payments.
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“It is quite simple: by continuing to trade in Russian gas, Shell is putting money into Putin’s pockets and helping to fund Russia’s brutal aggression against the people of Ukraine,” said Oleg Ustenko, an adviser to the Ukrainian president.
“Instead of filling the pockets of their shareholders, the enormous sums that Shell and the entire oil industry have made in Russia should be used to help fund the reconstruction of Ukraine.”
Shell has stopped purchasing Russian LNG on the spot market, but it still has certain long-term contractual obligations, according to a spokeswoman for the company. This complies fully with all applicable rules and regulations of the nations in which we conduct business as well as sanctions.
“There is a conflict between exerting pressure on the Russian government about their atrocities in Ukraine and making sure that energy supplies are steady and secure. The decision on the exceedingly challenging trade-offs that must be made belongs to the government.
The largest LNG trader in the world, Shell, is exempt from European sanctions and made billions of dollars trading oil and gas last year.
Last year, Russia drastically curtailed its pipeline gas supply, but it significantly increased its ship-delivered gas, especially to Europe.
Since more than a year ago, the UK has not purchased any Russian gas, and EU officials are working to cut back on the imports of Russian LNG. Kadri Simson, the EU’s energy commissioner, urged nations and businesses not to enter into new contracts and to stop purchasing Russian gas in March.
“The trade of Russian LNG ought to be viewed with the same disdain as the trading of Russian oil. According to Jonathan Noronha-Gant, senior campaigner at Global Witness, “Targeting Putin’s energy wealth cannot be about symbolic gestures but must actually put an end to the enormous fossil fuel sums that cement his dominance.
According to a Global Witness research, the French energy business TotalEnergies is a minor shareholder in the Yamal project and was a significant trader in Russian LNG.