TotalEnergies won’t work with Putin, refuses to write off Russian assets

CEO of TotalEnergies on Saturday defended the company’s refusal to leave Russia altogether, but said it would never do business with President Vladimir Putin Again.

Speaking to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble, Patrick Pouyanne, President and CEO of TotalEnergies, said he’s not willing to erase the company’s assets in Russia because that would really mean giving them to Putin “for free” .”

“What do we do with the existing assets? … I’m not ready to give them to the Russians for nothing, to the Russian oligarchs … because, by the way, it would be against the sanctions. “, he said on CNBC- censorship panel at the Doha Forum in Qatar.

“These assets are there, I will not give them to Mr. Putin for free. Since this is the will, leave today.”

The French company has faced criticism for refusing to write off its oil and gas assets in Russia – its stakes in Russian gas producers Novatek and Yamal, for example – like rivals. their. Cover and BP. Shell is reportedly facing a $3 billion loss on its Russian assets while BP’s price cut could be $25 billion.

But Pouyanne argues that the “write-off” actually “makes no sense”, and is merely an accounting operation.

Responding to rival energy companies’ exit plans, Pouyanne said: “They do what they want, I’m doing what I do. [we] want, “but he added that he doesn’t know how they plan to exit without the sanctions.” I want my colleagues to explain to me how they would do it. “

Rather than pulling out of Russia altogether, TotalEnergies this week said it would not provide funding for new projects in Russia and would not renew contracts for the supply of Russian gas and crude oil. “We are completely against and we firmly condemn Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine,” Pouyanne told the council on Saturday.

“We’re not going to work with President Putin – let’s make a difference between Russia and Putin,” he added.

In a statement on Tuesday, TotalEnergies said: “The waiver of these benefits without consideration would enrich Russian investors, contrary to the intent of the sanctions,” adding that the Russian sanctions and legislation mean that the company is prevented from finding a non-Russian buyer for these properties.

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