Russia: Major US providers of oilfield services allegedly supplied equipment to keep Russian oil flowing after Ukraine invasion; incl. co. comments
Top US firms supplied equipment to keep Russian oil flowing after Ukraine invasion, 18 July 2023
Major American providers of oilfield services supplied Russia with millions of dollars in equipment for months after its invasion of Ukraine, helping to sustain a critical part of its economy even as Western nations launched sanctions aimed at starving the Russian war effort.
The largest – SLB, formerly Schlumberger – maintained and even slightly grew its business after others eventually departed. It announced on Friday it would stop exporting equipment there as The Associated Press prepared to publish a report on the companies’ Russian operations.
Russia imported more than 5,500 items worth more than $200 million from the top five U.S. firms in the sector — led by SLB, Baker Hughes and Halliburton — in the year following the invasion that began in February 2022. That’s according to customs data obtained by B4Ukraine and vetted by The AP.
The technology helped keep some of the world’s most challenging oilfields operating in a sector that provided nearly half of Russia’s federal revenues in 2021. Baker Hughes and Halliburton wound down their Russian operations several months after the invasion, but until last week, SLB still sold technology there.
It was “deeply shocking to find a U.S. company continuing to supply equipment to Russia’s oil and gas sector,” said Eleanor Nichol, executive director of B4Ukraine, a coalition of more than 80 nonprofits calling for multinationals to leave the Russian market.
The AP corresponded with SLB about the exports over several months beginning in February and asked the company for final comment on Wednesday. SLB announced two days later it would halt shipments of technology and equipment to Russia from all SLB facilities worldwide. The company said it was “in response to the continued expansion of international sanctions,” including new EU ones at the end of June...
SLB spokeswoman Moira Duff rejected the idea that SLB’s operations effectively support the Russian war effort. She said SLB voluntarily curtailed some activity starting the month after the invasion...
Halliburton wound down its Russia operations less than six months after the invasion “while prioritizing safety,” spokesman Brad Leone said. Baker Hughes announced the sale of its oilfield services business in Russia last August, six months after the invasion, and completed the deal three months later.
By contrast, oil majors including Exxon, Shell and BP scrambled to quit Russia after the invasion, announcing their decision to leave within days or weeks and writing off billions in assets. Their operations wound down over the following months, though some assets remain stranded. BP wrote off $24.4 billion, Shell $4.2 billion and Exxon $4 billion, they said in public statements...