A week after a chorus of Western executives from Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell and other companies denounced Moscow’s violent onslaught in Ukraine and pledged to pull their companies out of Russian ventures, it appears the turbulence for Russia’s energy industry has only begun.
For the oil companies, three decades of carefully nurturing investments in what was always a difficult political environment is poised to quickly go by the boards. But the high point of Western involvement in Russia passed years ago, pushed along in part by outrage over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The Russian oil industry, though, is likely to experience a wrenching reworking about how it does business in the coming weeks, months and even years. In the short term, this painful reckoning will come not so much because blue-chip oil companies are leaving but because Russian oil and gas have suddenly become toxic to many buyers.