Total owns just under half of TerNefteGaz, a company set up to operate the Termokarstovoye field, with Novatek owning the remainder. Total also owns almost 20% of Novatek itself, giving the French company a majority economic interest in the joint venture and meaning that it benefits from condensate sales from other Novatek-owned gas fields too.
Vladimir Putin personally praised the Termokarstovoye development when drilling began in 2009, describing it as a “good project” with “a lot of investment”. After the European Union imposed sanctions on business dealings with Russia over the 2014 invasion of Crimea, Total received permission from the French government to continue work on Termokarstovoye, which came on stream in May 2015.
Presented with the supply chain data by Le Monde, Total confirmed that all gas condensate produced by TerNefteGaz is sold to Novatek, making up 7% of the company’s marketed volumes, but said that it did not have any information on Novatek’s subsequent sales and has no control over the operational activities of Novatek, which is an entirely separate company.
Supply chain data is supported by high-resolution satellite imagery. A photograph taken by a Maxar satellite on 31 July shows seven tank wagons sitting at a railhead at Morozovsk air base. According to Refinitiv data, the train station at Morozovsk town, five miles away, received multiple jet fuel shipments involving the same number of wagons in July, including one the day before the photograph was taken.
Shipments of gas condensate from Novatek’s Purovsky processing plant have made up an estimated 8% of feedstock – the raw input for refining – received at Omsk since the invasion, according to supply chain data from Refinitiv.
On 24 August, TotalEnergies published its response to questions from Le Monde, based on Global Witness’s reporting of a link between TerNefteGaz, Novatek and the Russian Air Force. In the course of this response, Total said that all hydrocarbons supplied to Novatek’s Purovsky plant by TerNefteGaz “are entered into Novatek’s general input stream and are processed and sold together with its other oil and condensate output.”
On 26 August, Total issued a new statement, reporting information received from Novatek. In the words of a spokesperson for Novatek, “the entirety of stable condensate produced at the Purovsky Plant from the feedstock coming from NOVATEK’s subsidiaries and affiliates, including Terneftegas, is delivered to the Ust-Luga processing complex in the Leningrad Region.”
Our analysis of supply chain data from Refinitiv shows that more than 40,000 tonnes of jet fuel were shipped from Omsk to Morozovsk and Voronezh between February and July – enough to fill an Su-34’ s internal fuel tanks more than 3,000 times. The first shipment was received on 22 February, two days before the invasion was launched, with neither base having received fuel from the refinery previously since 2017.
[Read more: https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/stop-russian-oil/total-russian-jet-fuel/]