How Schlumberger supports Russian oil industry despite sanctions and war

Russia has been waging a full-scale war against Ukraine for two years. The courageous Ukrainian people fight against the Russian troops, whose representatives are responsible for killing innocent Ukrainian civilians, including children.

Meanwhile, the EU and the US strive to do their best to undermine Russia’s economic and military capabilities and prevent it from obtaining significant revenues from oil and gas exports by imposing sanctions on Russia and its allies.

Many companies have left the Russian Federation since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Among these countries were large oil service companies, namely Baker Hughes and Halliburton. However, some companies make an effort to adjust their operations to continue profiting from trade with Moscow.

One of the most illustrative examples is Schlumberger, also known as SLB, which is the largest offshore drilling company and the largest offshore drilling contractor by revenue. Although the company tries to show that it sticks to all the restrictions imposed by the EU and the US on the Russian Federation, it continues operating in the sanctioned state and assists it in developing the Russian oil industry.

Schlumberger is based in Willemstad, Netherlands Antilles. The company trades on the New York Stock Exchange, Euronext Paris, and the London Stock Exchange. Its main offices are based in Houston, US.

The analysis of Schlumberger’s official statements and its activity in the Russian Federation will help us understand the true nature of one of the world’s largest oil service companies. The Russian Federation started the full-scale war against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, and it took Schlumberger 23 days to provide an update on operations in Russia.

According to the company’s statement, Schlumberger has “been evaluating” its “path forward” and has “decided to immediately suspend new investment and technology deployment to Russian operations.” However, this statement did not imply that the company had any intention to leave the Russian Federation completely.

Other large oil service companies, namely Baker Hughes and Halliburton, appeared to be more responsible and decided to exit the Russian Federation completely. These corporations sold their businesses, but Schlumberger decided to continue operating in the pariah state. SLB added around 70 employees in Russia in late 2022, including personnel for its key accounts such as Gazprom and Rosneft.

Moreover, Russia accounted for 6%, or $1.21 billion, of the total revenue of the company in the first nine months of 2022, up from 5% before the invasion of Ukraine. Furthermore, more than 9,000 Russian employees received military draft notices for their work, and the company did not authorize remote employment to avoid mobilization.

Schlumberger’s activity had outraged people all over the world, and the company reacted to this outrage by making an announcement, according to which it promised to halt shipments of products and technology into Russia from its worldwide facilities.

However, Aleksandr Moor, a Russian politician and the current Governor of Tyumen Oblast, published the following statement in his Telegram account on January 29, 2024:

“Today in Tyumen, we have launched the serial production of unique installations, without which it is impossible to produce hydrocarbons. After the restrictions had been introduced, such machines turned out to be unavailable to Russian customers. In less than a year in Tyumen, specialists from the Russian division of Schlumberger developed a completely domestic technology. Up to four installations per year are planned to be launched in Tyumen. Schlumberger has been operating in the Tyumen region for 20 years. Our cooperation continues.”

It turns out that the promises made by Schlumberger are just words. The company continues operating in the Russian Federation and helps the rogue state develop the equipment necessary for obtaining profits from oil exports.

The Kremlin allocates this money to supply its invading troops and develop military equipment used to murder Ukrainian citizens, including children. The powerful Western companies should take appropriate measures to force Schlumberger to bear responsibility for its assistance to the Kremlin and for its contribution to the destruction of Ukraine.

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