Hand over $1B of Russian ‘blood money,’ Ukraine tells Shell

Oil and gas giant Shell should donate more than $1 billion in windfall profits from the potential sale of its assets in Russia to help rebuild Ukraine, according to a top Kiev official.

In a letter to CEO Val Savan dated April 18 and seen by Politico, Oleg Ustenko, an economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, told Shell to block any profits from a potential Russian purchase of the British firm’s stake in a Siberian fossil fuel venture with Ukraine. asked to share.

“If completed, this sale would represent the transfer of more than $1 billion in Russian cash to Shell’s accounts. That would be blood money, pure and simple,” Ustenko wrote.

“We call on Shell to put any Russian sale or dividend proceeds to work for the victims of the war – the very war those assets fueled and funded,” he said.

Following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, Shell announced it would exit the Russian market and dismiss As a result $5 billion worth of assets and investments in the country.

This included a 27.5 percent stake in the Sakhalin-2 project, a major oil field and offshore gas drilling venture in Russia’s Far East. company written around $1.6 billion for its stake in the site and the Kremlin proceed to nationalize In July last year, the venture raised concerns that the firm would lose its capital.

However, the Russian business media informed of Earlier this week the government signed off on a deal in which Novatek, the country’s second-biggest gas producer, would buy Shell’s stake for 95 billion rubles – currently worth about $1.16 billion. Shell had earlier said it was not involved in any talks on the issue.

Shell declined to provide a public comment, but pointed out that the company is not actively involved in any business with ongoing operations within Russia, not party to any current talks for the sale of a stake in Sakhalin-2. and there is no clarity on whether the proceeds from such sale would be

“We appreciate that as of this moment, Shell may not have the option of accepting this offer,” Ustenko acknowledged in the letter, but would make a “tremendous commitment” to donate any such profits. “It’s a moral matter.

rebuilding from the rubble

The attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure would amount to more than a tenth of the total repair bill, according to the NGO Global Witness, a UN reports Last week’s warning could be as high as $10 billion.

“It would have been much worse if Shell had kept the money,” said Louis Wilson, who heads Ukraine policy at the NGO. “This is money they told the world they wrote off as losses and this is money that comes directly from the Russian oil and gas sector. Shell has already set a precedent that war profits Ukraine must go.

In March 2022, the energy firm said it would donate $60 million to humanitarian causes in Ukraine, following an outcry over its decision to buy a cargo of Russian crude to be refined into petroleum products. While the business did not violate sanctions at the time, Shell accepted “It was not the right decision” and apologized.

in one Interview with Politico Last month, Ukraine’s Energy Minister German Galushchenko urged major energy companies to donate excess revenue to his country.

“A lot of energy companies get huge windfall because of the war,” he said. “I think it would be appropriate to share this money with Ukraine. To help restore us, to rebuild the energy sector.”

that’s the idea getting some support Although the final decision to send cash to Ukraine is up to the companies and their shareholders – from EU countries.