Equinor exits final Russia project in Arctic Kharyaga oilfield

The Norwegian energy group is the first to exit Russian assets fully after the invasion of Ukraine.

By Terje Solsvik, Reuters - September 2, 2022
Equinor’s logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Stavanger, Norway, on December 5, 2019. (Ints Kalnins / Reuters)

OSLO — Equinor has completed its exit from Russia, the Norwegian energy group said on Friday, delivering on a promise made after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

This marks the first full, orderly exit from Russia by an international oil and gas company as pressure to leave mounts on others, such as TotalEnergies and ExxonMobil.

Equinor said on Feb. 28 that it would begin the process of divesting from joint ventures in Russia, describing its position as “untenable” after the war started the previous week.

In March Equinor said it would stop trading Russian oil and in May the company announced an agreement to exit its Russian joint ventures and transfer them to state-owned Rosneft, its long-term partner in the country.

It was then left with only one Russian asset to divest; the Arctic Kharyaga oilfield operated by Russia’s Zarubezhneft and in which TotalEnergies is a partner.

“Equinor can now confirm that the full exit from Kharyaga has also been completed,” Equinor said on Friday. “Following the exit from Kharyaga, Equinor has no remaining assets or projects in Russia.”

France’s TotalEnergies, which has faced criticism at home for holding on to many of its assets in Russia, announced on Aug. 26 that it had agreed to sell its stake in a Siberian gas field to local partner Novatek.

Shell and BP, meanwhile, have said they plan to leave Russia but have yet to complete their withdrawals.

A Russian presidential decree last month banned investors from what Moscow terms unfriendly countries from selling shares in certain energy projects until the end of the year, but the decree provides waivers in some cases.

U.S. oil major Exxon has notified Russian officials it will sue the federal government unless Moscow allows the company to exit the giant Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project, the Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 30, citing unnamed sources.