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Chairman Menendez Demands Explanation from American Oilfield Services Companies on their Support for Russia’s Wartime Economy

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sent letters to the CEOs of Baker Hughes, SLB, and Halliburton – three American oilfield service companies – after the Associated Press reported that they were among U.S. companies that exported more than $200 million worth of items to Russia following its unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine, despite Russia’s heinous conduct that has prompted wide-ranging U.S. sanctions and condemnation.

As reported in an exclusive interview with Ed Davey of the Associated Press, Chairman Menendez decried the American companies’ apparent continuation of business as usual – as proceeds from fossil fuels remain essential to funding Russia’s war machine and weaponization of energy. In his letters, Chairman Menendez demands an explanation and a commitment that they will cease all investments in Russia’s fossil fuel infrastructure going forward.

“Since Russia’s invasion, the U.S. and our allies have worked to squeeze Russia economically at every turn. U.S. companies should not turn a blind eye to the atrocities being committed in Ukraine because it is in their financial interest,” said Chairman Menendez. “It is disgraceful that any company would put profits above cutting ties with the murderous Putin regime, and I believe it is incumbent upon those seeking an end to the war to make them answer for it.”

An excerpt of the Associated Press exclusive has been provided below:

Russia imported more than $200 million in technology from the three companies in the year following the invasion in February 2022, customs data obtained by B4Ukraine and vetted by The AP showed. Market leader SLB, formerly Schlumberger, even slightly grew its Russian business. Much of Russia’s oil is hard to reach, and analysts say that had U.S. oilfield services companies all pulled out, its production would have taken an immediate hit.

Menendez, in letters to the chief executives of the three companies, said he was “extremely disturbed” by AP’s findings. He noted that President Joe Biden and Congress had imposed “wide-ranging sanctions related to Russia’s violation of another nation’s sovereignty,” while Russia’s invasion was “particularly heinous,” its soldiers committing “tens of thousands of atrocities.”

As people around the world made sacrifices in solidarity with Ukraine, the July 27 letter concluded, “your company sought to make a profit... there is simply no good explanation for this behavior, other than to make a dollar.”

A link to the Associated Press exclusive can be found HERE, and full text of the letters have been provided below:

I was extremely disturbed to see reports that your company, along with other oil equipment leasing firms, exported more than $200 million worth of assets to Russia following its unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine in 2022, and after the United States and other partners of Ukraine imposed sanctions on the country for its horrific invasion.

As your firm must surely have known, the President and Congress - on a bipartisan basis – imposed wide-ranging sanctions related to Russia’s violation of another nation’s sovereignty, in clear contravention of a fundamental principle that underpins international peace, stability, and security. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is particularly heinous as its soldiers have committed tens of thousands of atrocities, including acts involving targeting civilian populations and infrastructure.  All the while Vladimir Putin continues to insist that Ukraine has no right to exist as a sovereign nation.  These are all facts which you surely must have known as you continued your commercial activities in Russia.

You must have also been aware that sanctions that the United States and several U.S. partners and allies imposed with respect to Russia are intended to, among other things, hamper Russia’s fossil fuel production, which your company’s activities assisted. These industries are critical to Russia’s ability to fund its brazen attacks on maternity wards, schools, and apartment buildings.

Furthermore, the citizens of the United States and our allies and partners in Europe and the world stand united with Ukraine as it resists Russia’s brutal attacks. Russia’s assault fueled geopolitical implications that reached far beyond its borders, including higher food and energy prices – including petroleum prices, which directly translate to higher prices at the pump.

As people around the world bore these costs in solidarity with Ukraine, your company sought to make a profit. Your firm has surely worked to create a reputation for itself as a global citizen. There is simply no good explanation for this behavior, other than to make a dollar. The American people, the people of Ukraine and its allies and partners, deserve an explanation as well as a commitment that you will cease all investments in Russia’s fossil fuel infrastructure going forward.


Bob Menendez