The UK government has stripped Putin-dependent energy giant Gazprom of its right to raise funds in London’s global capital markets. Meanwhile, its UK branch has lost at least one public sector client in response to Moscow’s breach of Ukraine.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Treasury confirmed the ban yesterday in an updated list of Russian sanctions. Along with rival Rosneft and Russian banks, Gazprom is named in an extended list.
A D-BEIS spokesperson confirmed a source that “Russian gas giant Gazprom has been sanctioned by the UK government and will no longer be able to issue debt or equity in the UK”.
Trading in the UK since 2006, Gazprom Energy has become one of Britain’s largest energy suppliers to industry and organisations. Analysts Snapshot of Cornwall places its market share at around 20%. It is run in St. Petersburg by Putin associate Alexei Miller.
Meanwhile, two English consultants are set to tear up contracts with the Putin-allied firm.
Suffolk County Council has confirmed the termination of its Gazprom contract, held through facilities management company Vertas. Negotiated three years ago, it was to run until October 2023.
Council leader Matthew Hicks explained; “When Vladimir Putin made the immoral and utterly reprehensible decision to invade Ukraine, I asked officers last week to review our contract with Russian energy company Gazprom.”
“I can confirm that we have decided to invoke our options to terminate the contract, ending our relationship with Gazprom. Together with our partners, we are actively pursuing this outcome.
This morning, Cllr Hicks tweeted: ‘It’s important that we all play our part to help end this act of aggression against a free and peaceful nation and its innocent people.’
According to the council, from April 2022, all electricity for the local authority will come from UK clean renewable sources, supplied by EDF for the next three years.
In East Sussex Wealden District Council also plans to break with Gazprom. The council has three contracts to heat retirement residences until 2024.
German Schröder, Putin’s “appeaser”
“At the time of the procurement, Gazprom presented the best case for providing services in accordance with local authorities’ legal obligation to obtain best value for money,” a council spokesman said.
“By law, a local authority cannot discriminate against an economic operator on non-commercial grounds, such as country of origin, political affiliation or involvement in government policy, unless directed by the policy of the central government.”
The spokesperson confirmed that Wealden’s legal and procurement teams are “reviewing the matter”.
In Germany, former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is under heavy criticism for chairing Gazprom in continental Europe.
Following last week’s invasion and Berlin’s suspension of Gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, the former head of government is being discredited along with others as a ‘Putin understander’, a euphemism for ‘appeasement “.
At a fiery SPD conference this weekend, Rainer Arnold, a former MP and defense spokesman would have called on Schröder to “save the SPD and you yourself sustained embarrassing and excruciating debates about your selfish engagement with Putin, a man whose interests are equally selfish and inhuman”.
Following speculation, Exxon Mobil confirmed today that it is withdrawing from all operations in Russia. As reported by Russian government-controlled TASS news agencythe giant announced on its website: “In response to recent events, we are initiating the process of shutting down operations and developing steps to exit the Sakhalin-1 enterprise”,
“Given the current situation, ExxonMobil will not invest in new developments in Russia”
The US company’s decision today puts additional pressure on TotalEnergies, the latest of Big Oil’s “seven sisters” which has yet to declare its withdrawal from Russia.