“Our actions to date have been guided by continuous discussions with governments about the need to talk to society from Russian energy flows, while maintaining energy supplies,” Shell CEO Ben Van Beurden said in a statement. “Threats today to stop pipeline flows to Europe further illustrate the difficult choices and potential consequences we face as we try to do this.”
Unless told to do otherwise by governments, Shell said it would immediately halt purchases of Russian crude oil on the spot market and not renew contracts. It would also reconfigure its supply chain to cut out Russian crude altogether.
“We will do this as fast as possible, but the physical location and availability of alternatives mean this could take weeks to complete and will lead to reduced throughput at some of our refineries,” the company said in a statement.
Shell will also immediately begin to shut down its service stations, aviation fuels and lubricants operations in Russia in “the safest way” possible, and begin a phased withdrawal from Russian petroleum products, pipeline gas and liquified natural gas.
Van Beurden said European countries were facing a dilemma between putting pressure on the Russian government over its actions in Ukraine and ensuring stable, secure energy supplies.
“But ultimately, it is for governments to decide on the incredibly difficult tradeoffs 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,” he added.
He also apologized for Shell’s decision last week to buy a cargo of Russian crude for refining into gas and diesel.
“We are acutely aware that our decision… despite being made with security of supplies at the forefront of our thinking — was not the right one and we are sorry,” he said.
Shell has said it will commit profits from the remaining barrels of Russian oil it processes to a fund dedicated to alleviating the consequences of the war for the people of Ukraine.