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TotalEnergies co-owned venture may have helped fuel Russian military: Report

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TotalEnergies is involved in supplying gas condensate to make jet fuel that may have been used by Russia’s military in Ukraine, via the French firm’s stake in a venture with Russia’s Novatek, Le Monde newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s Le Monde report, based on energy market data and compiled with help from activist group Global Witness, said the fuel was produced from gas condensate supplied by Terneftegaz, in which TotalEnergies holds 49 percent.

TotalEnergies, which unlike major Western rivals has held on to most of its assets in Russia despite criticism, said it did not operate infrastructure that would have supplied the Russian military but acknowledged its shareholding in Terneftegaz.

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It said all the gas condensate produced by Terneftegaz was supplied to Novatek, in which TotalEnergies also has 19.4 percent.

“Le Monde was able to trace the supply chain from the Termokarstovoye gas field in Siberia to two military air bases (Morozovskaya and Malchevo), each of which houses a squadron of multirole fighter aircraft,” the newspaper reported.

Amnesty International and other rights groups have said airstrikes against civilians, including the devastated Ukrainian city of Mariupol, were likely carried out with warplanes from bases in the region, including Morozovskaya and Malchevo.

TotalEnergeis has faced criticism in the West for not following the lead of other energy majors such as Shell and BP, which have said they would divest their Russian assets.

The French firm has a range of investments in Russia, including stakes in the Yamal LNG project and Arctic LNG 2 project, which is not yet operational. The projects are part of the firm’s strategy to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The French government has said it was up to each company to determine which business activities they wanted to keep in Russia provided they complied with international sanctions.

The French presidency declined to comment on the Le Monde report and TotalEnergies’ investments when contacted by Reuters.

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