TotalEnergies will not work with Putin, refuses to write down off Russian property

The CEO of TotalEnergies on Saturday defended the corporate’s refusal to totally exit Russia, however mentioned it will by no means do enterprise with President Vladimir Putin once more.

Talking to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble, Patrick Pouyanne, chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, mentioned he was not ready to write down off the corporate’s property in Russia as it will successfully imply giving them to Putin “totally free.”

“What can we do with the present property? … I’m not prepared to offer them for zero to Russian individuals, to Russian oligarchs … as a result of by the best way, it will be opposite of the sanctions,” he mentioned on a CNBC-moderated panel on the Doha Discussion board in Qatar.

“These property are there, I can’t give them totally free to Mr. Putin. As a result of that is what it means, leaving as we speak.”

The French firm has confronted criticism for its refusal to write down off its oil and fuel property in Russia — for instance its stakes in Russian fuel producers Novatek and Yamal — like its rivals Shell and BP. Shell is reportedly dealing with a lack of $3 billion for its Russian property whereas BP’s write-down might be within the area of $25 billion.

However Pouyanne argued that “written off” really “means nothing,” and was little greater than an accounting observe.

In response to the exit plans of rival vitality companies, Pouyanne mentioned: “They do what they need, I am doing what [we] need,” however added that he didn’t understand how they deliberate to exit the nation with out contravening sanctions. “I would really like my colleagues to elucidate to me how they may do it.”

As an alternative of a full exit from Russia, TotalEnergies mentioned this week that it will now not present capital for brand spanking new tasks in Russia and wouldn’t renew its Russian gasoil and crude provide contracts. “We’re completely towards and we firmly condemn the aggression of Russia towards Ukraine,” Pouyanne mentioned on the panel Saturday.

He added: “We won’t work with President Putin — make a distinction please between Russia and Putin.”

In a press release Tuesday, TotalEnergies mentioned: “Abandoning these pursuits with out consideration would enrich Russian traders, in contradiction with the sanctions’ goal,” and added that sanctions and Russian legal guidelines imply the corporate was prevented from discovering a non-Russian purchaser for these property.

‘We created a … monster’

Pouyanne mentioned classes ought to be realized from Europe’s reliance on Russian fuel. The EU imported 45% of its fuel from Russia final 12 months, in accordance with the Worldwide Power Company.

“It is true that we created a state of affairs the place we’re depending on them,” he mentioned, given Europe’s resolution to go for the low-cost Russian choice. “It is a lesson for all of us.”

Putin “didn’t power” Europe to purchase Russia’s fuel, he mentioned. “We favored the bottom value vitality … Sure, we created a kind of monster, however on either side, you recognize.”

He added that individuals now wanted to contemplate how a lot they’re keen to pay for the price of vitality safety with out Russia.

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