The “Beginning of Withdrawal” of TotalEnergies to depreciate the assets of the Arctic LNG2 project

TotalEnergies logo on May 28, 2021 in La Defense near Paris
May 28, 2021, TotalEnergies logo (Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP / Archives) in La Defense near Paris

TotalEnergies began its “beginning of decline” on Wednesday, following criticism of its maintenance in Russia, by announcing a $ 4.1 billion depreciation of assets specifically related to the Arctic LNG2 project.

He explained that the liquefied gas project has been uncertain due to the sanctions imposed on Russia since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The new ban poses additional risks to the ability of the Arctic LNG 2 project to execute. As a result, TotalEnergies will provide $ 4.1 billion as of March 31, especially for Arctic LNG 2. “We have decided to do so,” a spokeswoman said in a press release that marks the “beginning of decline.”

The French hydrocarbon giant had already decided on March 22 that it would not register its proved reserves of Arctic LNG 2 and would not fund the project. construction”.

However, from that day on April 8, “new sanctions were actually adopted by the European authorities, especially for the benefit of Russian companies the export of goods and techniques from the territory of the European Union aimed at the liquefaction of natural gas. Banned. “, Watch out for Wednesday’s group.

“TotalEnergies brings out the consequences of what’s happening. This $ 4 billion offer shows that TotalEnergies has begun to turn pages,” a spokesman said.

The company’s 10%-owned giant Arctic LNG 2 production site was scheduled to deliver liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the first time from Siberia in 2023.

Strategic country

TotalEnergies logo, May 28, 2021, La Defense near Paris
TotalEnergies logo, May 28, 2021, La Defense near Paris (Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP / Archives)

TotalEnergies was already some distance from its strategic country, Russia, by announcing in March that it would abandon all purchases of Russia’s oil, diesel and petroleum products by the end of the year at the latest. He also announced that he would not fund new projects there.

However, it has not withdrawn from the country, which was established in the early 1990s and produces 16.6% of hydrocarbons and 30% of gas alone.

The group is a 19.4% shareholder of Russian gas giant Novatek and holds a 20% stake in the Yamal LNG gas field, a project initiated in the Far North of Russia at the end of 2017, producing more than 18 million tons. doing. LNG in 2020.

For him, abandoning these stakes was counterproductive, and he could not find a non-Russian buyer to buy them in the current situation, as explained earlier. “Therefore, abandoning these participations without financial compensation would help enrich Russian investors, contrary to the very purpose of the sanctions,” the company explained in March.

“To withdraw is to give […] Patrick Pouyann, then CEO, said the group’s invested factory was “$ 13 billion for Russians because no one can buy it.”

TotalEnergies has been the subject of intense criticism for its maintenance, and environmentalist presidential candidate Yannick Jadot has even accused him of “committing to war crimes.” The multinational corporation has issued a defamation proceeding.

The group is also publicly tasked by investor Clearway Capital to suspend operations in Russia or ask shareholders to discuss their continuation in Russia.

■■