Oil giant Shell has announced it plans to withdraw from the Russian oil and gas market, following the Ukraine invasion.
As an immediate first step, Shell says it will stop all spot purchases of Russian crude oil, after being heavily criticised for buying an oil shipment from Russia last Friday.
Shell will also shut its service stations, aviation fuels and lubricants operations in Russia, and begin “a phased withdrawal” from Russian petroleum products, pipeline gas and liquid natural gas.
Shell chief executive officer, Ben van Beurden, says the company is “sorry” for buying the oil shipment from Russia.
That move led Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, to publically criticise Shell, tweeting “Doesn’t Russian oil smell [like] Ukrainian blood for you?”, and urging multinational companies to cut all business ties with Russia.
Ben van Beurden says: “We are acutely aware that our decision last week to purchase a cargo of Russian crude oil to be refined into products like petrol and diesel – despite being made with security of supplies at the forefront of our thinking – was not the right one and we are sorry. As we have already said, we will commit profits from the limited, remaining amounts of Russian oil we will process to a dedicated fund. We will work with aid partners and humanitarian agencies over the coming days and weeks to determine where the monies from this fund are best placed to alleviate the terrible consequences that this war is having on the people of Ukraine.”
“Our actions to date have been guided by continuous discussions with governments about the need to disentangle society from Russian energy flows, while maintaining energy supplies. Threats today to stop pipeline flows to Europe further illustrate the difficult choices and potential consequences we face as we try to do this.