Despite commitments from several international oil majors to leave Russia, Patrick Pouyanne, CEO of TotalEnergies, remarked on Wednesday that it is easier said than done and that firms from the United States and the United Kingdom are still stuck with their Russian assets.
TotalEnergies has yet to announce an urgent pullout from Russia, even though numerous oil majors did so at the start of the war, drawing condemnation from investors and activists.
Speaking to RTL Radio on Wednesday, the CEO of the French major said: “Everybody’s telling me that my Anglo-Saxon competitors are leaving.”
“None of my competitors has left Russia, and knows how to leave Russia.”
“Do you want me to abandon assets in Russia to enrich Russians whom we have placed under sanctions? I won’t give in to it, because that’s demagogy,” he added.
On Tuesday, the company addressed the “serious and unfounded accusation of complicity in war crimes” levelled against it, as it condemned the war once again.
The corporation announced it would not provide any more funding for the development of projects in Russia and it would no longer enter into or renew contracts to purchase Russian oil and petroleum products “in order to halt all its purchases of Russian oil and petroleum products as soon as possible and by the end of 2022 at the latest.”
“The current environment of European sanctions and Russian laws controlling foreign investments in Russia would prevent TotalEnergies to find a non-Russian buyer for its minority interests in Russia. Abandoning these interests without consideration would enrich Russian investors, in contradiction with the sanctions’ purpose,” the company added.
TotalEnergies in Russia
For over 25 years, the firm has been working in Russia, leading community outreach activities to promote education, sports, and culture. According to statistics from Kpler, a research organization, TotalEnergies was one of the largest consumers of shiploads of Russian crude in 2021, averaging 186,000 barrels per day.
TotalEnergies has agreements in place to import Russian oil through a pipeline to its Leuna refinery in eastern Germany.