France’s Total stops buying oil from Russia

France’s Total Energy has announced that it will stop buying Russian oil by the end of the year, warning of Moscow’s recklessness in the wake of its invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

The company said that it “began the gradual suspension of its activities in Russia, while ensuring the safety of its teams,” as it has suspended all spot market transactions since February 25, 2022 on Russian oil and petroleum products, as is the case with also for spot trade transactions related to Russian natural gas or liquefied natural gas.

In its statement, the French company condemned “the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, which has had tragic consequences for the Ukrainian population and threatens peace in Europe.”

Two weeks ago, the British oil giant Shell announced its intention to withdraw from Russian oil and gas projects “gradually, in line with the new directives of the British government” in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“As an immediate first step, the group will stop all purchases in the Russian crude oil market” and “close its stations and activities related to aviation fuel and lubricants in Russia,” Shell said in a statement.

The moves by energy companies, including Total, reflect the challenges facing European companies and policymakers who rely on importing energy resources from Russia, according to the New York Times.

Russia is the world’s third largest oil producer after the United States and Saudi Arabia, and Russian gas and oil account for about 40 percent of EU imports, according to the International Energy Agency.

It is noteworthy that “Total Energy” has contracts to import Russian oil that comes via a pipeline to the “Liona” refinery in eastern Germany.

The company said in its statement that it will finalize these deals by the end of 2022 and will replace supplies brought in via Poland. But it warned that such moves could have an impact on the availability of diesel fuel, which is already in short supply globally.

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