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Shell is already backtracking on its boycott of Russian oil

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Shell is already backtracking on its boycott of Russian oil

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Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, traders have struggled to unload Russian oil: Western buyers are adhering to a voluntary embargo in response to the violence, and in case sanctions start hitting the oil industry.

On Tuesday, March 1, Shell was lauded for cutting ties with Russian firms Gazprom and Salym Petroleum, and for ending its involvement in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. “We are shocked by the loss of life in Ukraine, which we deplore, resulting from a senseless act of military aggression which threatens European security,” Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said at the time. “Our decision to exit is one we take with conviction.”

That conviction lasted less than a week. By Friday (March 4), as the price spread widened between Russia’s Urals crude and Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, Shell bought 100,000 metric tons at a record discount of $28.50 per barrel, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

On Twitter, Shell confirmed that it would continue to buy Russian oil, citing a tight market and few alternatives for sourcing crude.

hell’s purchase of Russian crude—the first since companies began cutting ties—could signal to the rest of the market that buying Russian oil at a record discount is worth any moral about-face, according to Bloomberg.

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