Russia: SLB retrenches activities in country to keep business in compliance with Western sanctions
Exclusive: Oilfield firm SLB retrenches as Russia sanctions squeeze, 10 May 2023
SLB has made several operational and structural changes to keep its Russian business in compliance with Western sanctions on oil equipment and technology transfers, as it aims to ride out efforts to curb Russia's use of energy to finance its war efforts.
SLB, the world's largest oil services and equipment provider, last year rejected calls from human rights groups to withdraw from Russia as Western rivals exited quickly after the invasion of Ukraine. While SLB wasn't in breach of sanctions, the decision has triggered a backlash from employees and human rights groups.
Now, the former Schlumberger is tightening equipment transfers, barring Russian employees from accessing certain software and messaging systems, and walling off the unit from other operations, according to documents and two people familiar with the matter and confirmed by a SLB spokesperson.
The Curacao-domiciled company's moves come after Reuters reported in January that SLB had boosted operations in Russia by cherry-picking service and equipment contracts from rivals who left. But as the war and sanctions drag on, the company has warned business is slowing.
"As the international sanctions have evolved, we have taken further actions to curtail our activities, often beyond sanction requirements," an SLB spokesperson said. Among them are recently enacted "additional controls restricting the shipment of all SLB-manufactured products and technology from the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union and Canada" to Russia, the spokesperson said.
The changes "ensure our employees comply with all evolving sanctions," the person added.
Reuters was unable to establish why SLB implemented new restrictions on its Russian business...