Shell Pledges to Stop Buying Russian Oil and Gas, CEO Makes Apology for Recent Purchase

By Amber Crawford | Mar 8, 2022

On Tuesday, Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden apologized for the company’s purchase of crude oil from Russia last week and announced that, beginning immediately, the company will not be buying any more Russian gas or oil.

Shell has had a hard time parting with the Russian oil supply and made it clear to the public that they would not be entirely severing business ties with Russia — at least not until today.

Last weekend, Shell faced major backlash after buying Russian crude oil at a discounted price. In the wake of the public criticisms, the company released a statement explaining its reasons for continuing to give Russia its business and maintains that it will make every effort to not do its business with Russia when possible.

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden

“Yesterday we made the difficult decision to purchase a cargo of Russian crude oil,” the statement reads. “Our refineries produce petrol and diesel as well as other products that people rely on every day. To be clear, without an uninterrupted supply of crude oil to refineries, the energy industry cannot assure continued provision of essential products to people across Europe over the weeks ahead. Cargoes from alternative sources would not have arrived in time to avoid disruptions to market supply.”

“We will continue to choose alternatives to Russian oil wherever possible,” the statement continued, “but this cannot happen overnight because of how significant Russia is to global supply.”

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Read the full statement below:

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Although they had already stopped “most” business involvement with Russian oil purchasing, Shell admitted last week that they “currently purchase it and other Russian products for some refineries & chemical plants to ensure that [they] continue the production of essential fuels & products that people & businesses rely on every day.”

“Russian oil plays a significant role in global supply and in the current, tight market there is a relative lack of alternatives,” Shell added.

Shell has changed their tune since its statements last week. Now, Shell has announced it will immediately shut down its business with Russia altogether and will close its service stations, aviation fuels, and lubricants operations in Russia.

In Shell CEO Ben van Beurden’s statement on Tuesday, he said,

“We are acutely aware that our decision last week to purchase a cargo of Russian crude oil to be refined into products like petrol and diesel – despite being made with security of supplies at the forefront of our thinking – was not the right one and we are sorry.”

“These societal challenges highlight the dilemma between putting pressure on the Russian government over its atrocities in Ukraine and ensuring stable, secure energy supplies across Europe,” said van Beurden. “But ultimately, it is for governments to decide on the incredibly difficult trade-offs that must be made during the war in Ukraine. We will continue to work with them to help manage the potential impacts on the security of energy supplies, particularly in Europe.”

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