LONDON (AP) – Energy giant Shell said on Tuesday it was suspending purchases of Russian oil and natural gas and closing its service stations, aviation fuel and other operations in the country amid international pressure on the company to sever ties over the invasion of Ukraine.
The company said in a statement that it would choose from all Russian hydrocarbons, including crude oil, petroleum products, natural gas and liquefied natural gas, “in stages.”
The decision came at a time when rising oil prices have shaken world markets and days after Ukraine’s foreign minister criticized Shell for continuing to buy Russian oil, attacking the company for continuing to cooperate with the government. President Vladimir Putin.
“We are well aware that our decision last week to buy a consignment of Russian crude oil for refining into products such as petrol and diesel fuel – despite the fact that we thought about security of supply – was not the right one, and we are sorry “said CEO Ben van Borden.
He said that the company’s profits from “limited, the rest of Russian oil” will go to the fund to help Ukrainians.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said he was told on Friday that Shell had “invisibly” bought the oil, and asked the public to put pressure on the company and other international firms to stop such purchases.
“One question to Shell: for you, Russian oil does not smell (like) Ukrainian blood?” Kuleba announced this on Twitter. “I urge all conscious people around the world to demand that multinational companies sever all business ties with Russia.”
Last week, Shell said it was “shocked by the loss of life in Ukraine” and was shutting down its joint ventures with Gazprom, a huge oil and gas company controlled by the Russian government.
While the United States, Britain and the European Union have imposed tough economic sanctions against Russia, they have focused on banning oil and gas imports from Russia due to concerns about the impact on global energy supplies. According to the International Energy Agency, Russia is the world’s second largest oil producer, accounting for more than 12% of world production.
Ukraine and its supporters have called on countries around the world to stop buying Russian oil to limit funding for Putin’s military exploits. But it will definitely affect consumers.
A month ago, oil sold for about $ 90 a barrel. Prices are now rising by $ 120 a barrel as buyers shun Russian oil, and many refineries fear sanctions could be imposed in the future. They are worried that they will be left with oil that they would not be able to resell as gasoline if sanctions are imposed soon.
“These social problems underscore the dilemma between putting pressure on the Russian government over its atrocities in Ukraine and ensuring stable and secure energy supplies across Europe,” van Borden said.
He said Shell would work with governments “to help manage the potential impact on security of energy supply, especially in Europe.”