European governments are condemning Russia’s war in Ukraine and adopting economic sanctions. One crucial sector is still largely untouched: oil and gas.
In order to understand why this sector is so important, let’s consider that in 2020 Russian gas sales to Europe generated €35 billion. At the same time, Russia’s annual military expenditure amounted to €55 billion.
Russia’s fossil fuel exports and warfare capabilities are closely linked.
Already before the invasion of Ukraine, the director of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol declared that Russia was orchestrating Europe’s gas crisis. With more than one-third of gas currently consumed in Europe coming from Russia, energy dependence is a threat to our security. It is not only causing our energy bills to soar – it is preventing us from cutting the flow of money that is fuelling Putin’s war machine.
European corporations, such as Shell and BP from the UK, TotalEnergies and Engie from France, Uniper and BASF from Germany, ENI from Italy, Equinor from Norway, OMV from Austria, Fortum from Finland and others are deeply involved in the Russian energy market. They own shares of oil and gas companies, oil and gas fields, infrastructure, and invest in different fossil fuel projects.
These investments have made Europe a hostage of Russian energy blackmail.
It’s more urgent than ever to become independent and sustainable when it comes to energy. Recent announcements of some corporations to pull out of the Russian fossil market are positive developments, and we need to continue building citizen pressure to ensure they follow through. Therefore, we demand that the above-mentioned corporations: