Western companies sold technology worth millions of dollars to Russian fossil fuel industry

Western companies sold technology worth millions of dollars to Russian fossil fuel industry
Credit: Belga

Western companies have continued to sell critical technical support to Russia’s fossil fuel industry, an Associated Press investigation reveals.

Despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, their commitments to leave the Russian market as well as international sanctions, major US providers of oilfield services have supplied millions of dollars worth of equipment and services. This enabled Russia to continue its lucrative trade of fossil fuel exports, which directly funds Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

According to an analysis of leaked Russian customs data acquired by NGO B4Ukraine, in the year following the start of Russia’s invasion, Russia imported more than 5,500 pieces of equipment worth $200 million from the five largest US firms in the oil sector. These imports came from firms such as SLB, Baker Hughes, and Halliburton, who all have subsidiaries in Europe.

The largest company active in this sector, SLB (formerly Schlumberger), even expanded its business in the Russian market. It sold 3,279 pieces of equipment valued at $60 million. The most expensive item was a $3.5 million oil well monitoring system.

Only on Friday, in anticipation of an AP report on the company’s Russia operations, did it commit to stop exporting its equipment.

Credit: Pixabay

Another active company in the oil sector, Halliburton, said that it wound down its operations within six months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but continued its business to prioritise safety. Russian oil and gas fields have a poor safety record, with numerous recorded methane leaks, and experts feared that sanctions could lead to an increase in incidents.

Sponsors of war

In a comment from Ukraine NGO Razom We Stand, activists said that this continued trade makes some Western companies implicit in funding Russia’s atrocities in Ukraine.

“If Western companies continue to back Russia’s oil and gas– the industry that provides nearly half of the income for the budget of the aggressor state– they entrench their complicity in war crimes,” said Svitlana Romanko, Founder and Director of Razom We Stand.

An oil field in Russia's arctic regions. Credit: Chursaev13/WikimediaCommons

Razom We Stand calls for the introduction of secondary sanctions on suppliers of equipment and services for the Russian oil and gas industry

The group is calling for more political willpower to put further pressure on the Russian oil and gas industry, definitively stopping the export of equipment which helps facilitate Russian resource extraction. Razom We Stand believes that Russia’s war against Ukraine can be stopped through increased sanctions on Russia’s fossil fuels industry.

“International sanctions must work towards dismantling the Russian fossil fuel industry, not keeping it afloat. This investigation report proves that positive change depends on the will of Western leaders, who could really save us in Ukraine by fully enforcing the embargo against Russia,” Romanko concluded.

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