Russia imported over $200 mln worth of items from the top 5 US firms led by SLB, Baker Hughes, and Halliburton after the Ukraine invasion, according to B4Ukraine data vetted by The Associated Press. The provision of the critical equipment by the American oil services companies helped keep Russia’s oil and gas sector afloat.
The largest supplier – SLB, formerly Schlumberger – still sold technology to Russia until last week. It announced on it would stop exporting equipment there as AP prepared to publish a report on the companies’ Russian operations.
It was “deeply shocking to find a U.S. company continuing to supply equipment to Russia’s oil and gas sector,” said Eleanor Nichol, executive director of B4Ukraine.
In April, Ukraine categorized SLB as a “sponsor of the war,” a label aimed at deterring banks, investors and customers from doing business with companies still operating in Russia. Agiya Zagrebelska, Ukraine’s sanctions chief, told AP that SLB had benefited financially by remaining in Russia as competitors left.
By contrast, oil majors including Exxon, Shell and BP scrambled to quit Russia after the invasion, announcing their decision to leave within days or weeks and writing off billions in assets. Their operations wound down over the following months, though some assets remain stranded. BP wrote off $24.4 billion, Shell $4.2 billion and Exxon $4 billion, they said in public statements.
The imported items were vital to Russia. Moscow doesn’t have the technology or expertise to fully exploit old fields or challenging ones. If all oilfield service companies had left it would have hurt Russian production more than the departure of oil producers. Oil experts estimated production would have fallen significantly without the American companies’ equipment and expertise.