Profits From Fossil Fuels Fund Russia’s War, and US, UK Investors Among Top Backers of Russian Energy
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US, UK, and Japanese financial institutions have been the leading investors in Russian fossil fuel projects among G7 countries, according to a database produced by Defuel Russia’s War Machine website.

45% of Russian revenue comes from its fossil fuels and that money funds its armed forces. While G7 governments are trying to squeeze Russia’s fossil fuel revenue through extensive sanctions and a price cap regime, their own companies are undermining these efforts through ongoing financial and technical support to the same sector. Any ties to the Russian fossil fuel industry must be cut off immediately, to deprive Moscow of the financial and economic resources enabling its aggression.

Russia’s fossil fuel extraction projects, operated or developed by Russian companies, still involve foreign-owned companies and many are backed by foreign investors, banks, and insurers.

In 2021, total foreign direct investment in Russia’s energy sector was $116bn. The foreign financial support is largely for big oil and gas projects in Russia, including in Siberia and the Arctic.

Of particular importance is the involvement of French company Total Energies, specifies Stand with Ukraine co-founder Edward Mayor. Total Energies is holding on to its gas projects in Russia, and unlike other western companies has not yet renounced its dividends from local partners (Total Energies owns a 19,4% stake in gas giant Novatek).

Coal projects are mainly supported by domestic investors, the researchers say. Financial data on the following Russian oil & gas companies are available on the Defuel Russia’s War Machine web resource: Gazprom, Novatek, Lukoil, Rosneft, Tatneft, Surgutneftegas, Transneft, and Bashneft (beginning of March 2022 or most recent filings).

The database found US financial institutions have been the most prominent investors in Russian oil and gas projects, with 152 institutions holding $24.7bn. The largest US investor – Vanguard – is holding $4bn. Vanguard is followed by BlackRock ($2.8bn), Capital Group ($2.1bn), GQG Partners ($2bn), and Invesco ($2bn).

The largest single investment in the Russian fossil fuel companies was the $15.3bn in Rosneft held by the Qatar Investment Authority, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.

The UK was third in the list of investing nations, with 32 financial institutions holding $2.56bn in investments. Schroders had the biggest investments at $1.18bn.

Financial groups in Japan ($2.3bn), Norway ($1.7bn), Switzerland ($1.52), the Netherlands ($1.17bn), France ($970m), Germany ($909m), Canada ($705m) also held significant investments. Italian and Chinese institutions provided in credit $4bn and $7bn respectively (2019 – beginning of March 2022).

Without the longstanding financial cooperation with foreign institutions, the Russian energy sector wouldn’t matter that much now. Without them, Russia’s ability to blackmail the EU over coal, oil, and gas supplies, as well as to wage wars against its democratic neighbors, would be significantly decreased. Stop financing Russian energy – cut off investments to defuel Russia’s war now.

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