Global energy giants Shell and TotalEnergies are facing scrutiny over their trading activities linked to Russian natural gas amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine. A report by the campaign group Global Witness has thrown a spotlight on these activities, leading to increased international criticism.
According to Global Witness, TotalEnergies and Shell ranked as the third and fourth largest players in the Russian liquified natural gas (LNG) sector last year, trailing only behind two Russian companies. The report focused primarily on the United Kingdom’s Shell, following an earlier examination of TotalEnergies of France.
The campaign group alleges that “Russia’s LNG exports are helping to finance the country’s war in Ukraine,” a trade estimated to be worth $21 billion in 2022. Global Witness goes on to estimate that Shell made hundreds of millions from trading Russian LNG last year. The report strongly condemns these activities, asserting that the trade contributes to financing war crimes, despite its legal status. Global Witness is thus urging Shell, the UK, and the EU to immediately halt such trading.
In response to the accusations, both Shell and TotalEnergies have stated that their activities are tied to ongoing contracts, even as they withdrew from Russian partnerships following the invasion of Ukraine last year.
This controversy underscores the complex interplay of geopolitics and energy markets, where actions in one domain can have significant ramifications in the other. With rising international pressure, it remains to be seen how these energy giants will navigate the tumultuous situation and the demands for ethical responsibility in their trading practices.