Nine European and US fossil fuel companies have paid a collective $15.8 billion to Russia in various forms of taxes and fees since the country annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, a group of NGOs said Thursday.
The groups, Global Witness, Greenpeace USA and Oil Change International, used data from Oslo-based Rystad Energy, an independent energy research firm, to calculate how much money oil and gas companies based in North America and Europe had sent to the Russian state. They looked only at companies with exploration and production operations in Russia.
They looked at royalties, export duties, bonuses, taxes and fees, as well as “government profit oil,” which includes the value of any oil the companies may have given to Russia. It came up with a list of nine companies from these regions that had paid the most money to Russia. All those payments were legal, and other multinational companies outside the energy sector have also have made similar kinds of payments to the Russian state.
Shell, which is registered in the UK, sent $7.85 billion, the highest amount of the companies listed, the groups said in a statement, shared first with CNN. It was followed by US-based ExxonMobil ($2.81 billion). Two companies registered in Germany, Wintershall and Wintershall DEA, which have since merged, paid a combined total of $2.86 billion. BP, the British multinational oil and gas company, paid $817 million, the data from Rystad shows.
The data was shared amid criticisms that the West’s purchases of Russian coal, oil and gas — which are largely state-owned assets — have helped fund Russia’s war in Ukraine. The addition of taxes, fees and royalties for companies that have chosen to operate in Russia underscores how much capital Western energy companies have transferred to Russia.
The three groups that compiled the data said that while the $15.8 billion figure was substantial, the companies identified were also responsible for tens of billions of dollars more flowing to the Russian state because of stakes they hold in Russian oil and gas companies.