Shell still trading Russian gas despite pledge to stop

July 2, 2023  –Shell is still trading Russian gas more than a year after pledging to withdraw from the Russian energy market.

The company was involved in nearly an eighth of Russia’s shipborne gas exports in 2022, according to analysis from campaign group Global Witness.

Oleg Ustenko, an adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, accused Shell of accepting “blood money”.

Shell said the trades were the result of “long-term contractual commitments” and do not violate laws or sanctions.

As recently as 9 May, a vast tanker capable of carrying more than 160,000 cubic meters of gas compressed into liquid form – liquefied natural gas or LNG – pulled out of the port of Sabetta, on the Yamal peninsula in Russia’s far north.

That cargo was purchased by Shell before heading onwards to its ultimate destination, Hong Kong.

It is one of eight LNG cargoes that Shell has bought from Yamal this year, according to data from the Kpler database analysed by Global Witness.

Last year Shell accounted for 12% of Russia’s seaborne LNG trade, Global Witness calculates, and was among the top five traders of Russian-originated LNG that year.

In March 2022, in the weeks following the invasion of Ukraine, Shell apologised for buying a cargo of Russian oil, and said it intended to withdraw from Russian oil and gas.

It said that it would stop buying Russian oil, and sell its service stations and other businesses in Russia, which it has done. It has also ended its joint ventures with the state energy giant Gazprom.

And it said it would start a “phased withdrawal from Russian petroleum products, pipeline gas and LNG”. But it warned that it would be a “complex challenge”.

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