TotalEnergies traders aren’t buying Russian oil, CEO says

As pressure grows to isolate the country from world energy markets.
Image: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg

TotalEnergies SE has instructed traders not to buy any Russian oil as pressure grows to isolate the country from world energy markets.

“My traders don’t take any more oil from Russia since the beginning of the crisis,” Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne said during the CERAWeek by S&P Global conference in Houston. All but one of Total’s refineries are replacing Russian supplies, he said.

Russian oil is becoming less welcome on global markets as the US and its allies consider adding the country’s top export to sanctions in the wake of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Royal Dutch Shell Plc was criticised by Ukrainian officials for buying a cargo last week and since pledged to give any profits to benefit victims of the war.

TotalEnergies remains the sole supermajor not to have pledged an exit from its Russian assets as a result of the crisis. Pouyanne reiterated that the company has come under no pressure from the French government to quit Russia because natural gas is currently exempt from sanctions. To exit Russian assets would be inconsistent while Europe still burns the nation’s fuel, he said.

“Obviously if Europe is taking more sanctions, even deciding to get rid of the Russian gas, we have to take the consequences,” Pouyanne said.

TotalEnergies operates one landlocked refinery in Germany that would “face some difficulty” in replacing Russian oil imports, he said. All other refineries are exploring alternatives.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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