Shell to stop buying Russian crude

Shell is to halt buying Russian oil with immediate effect, the energy giant confirmed on Tuesday, as it apologised for acquiring a shipment of Urals crude last week.

The firm, which will also shut all its service stations, aviation fuels and lubricants operations in Russia, said it intended to withdraw from its involvement in all Russian hydrocarbons, including crude oil, petroleum products and liquefied natural gas.

As well as an immediate stop to buying Russian crude on the spot market and not renewing term contracts, Shell will look to remove all Russian volumes from its crude oil supply chain.

“We will do this as fast as possible, but the physical location and availability of alternatives means this could takes weeks to complete and will lead to reduced throughput at some of our refineries,” the blue chip noted.

The update came as Shell apologised for acquiring 100,000 metric tons of flagship Urals crude last Friday. The purchase, which did not violate any sanctions, was reportedly made for a record discount as rivals shun buying Russia’s oil and was heavily criticised.

Ben van Beurden, chief executive, 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.”

Profits from the remaining amounts of Russian oil Shell will process will be placed in a dedicated fund and used to help “alleviate the terrible consequences that this war is having on the people of Ukraine”, van Beurden said.

He continued: “Our actions to date have been guided by continuous discussions with governments about the need to disentangle society from Russian energy flows while maintaining energy supplies.

“Threats today to stop pipeline flows to Europe further illustrate the difficult choices and potential consequences we face as we try to do this.”

The announcements come a week after Shell said it would end its involvement with the controversial Nord Stream II gas pipeline and exit its partnerships with Gazprom following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

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