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foreign companies leave Sakhalin Island

Due to Western sanctions, ExxonMobil and Shell withdraw and suspend their investments in the local oil industry. They not only financed mining activities, but also projects in the fields of education, health and culture. Much of the growth of local civil society is due to these programs, according to locals.

Moscow () – All foreign investors in the oil extraction sector are leaving the island of Sakhalin. An activity on which a large part of the region’s businesses and economy depend. A week after the February 24 invasion of Ukraine, ExxonMobil had already declared its intention to withdraw from the Sakhalin-1 project – in which it was the main sponsor, with its subsidiary Exxon Neftegaz Limited – and to suspend its investments in Russia. Shell, for its part, announced its withdrawal from the Sakhalin-2 project.

In shareholding, the two companies only covered 30% and representatives of other Asian states maintain that they would be willing to buy Exxon shares. But the truth is that the American and British oil companies not only carry out mining activities, but also a large number of projects in the fields of education, health and culture. These programs will cease, impoverishing the population of the great Russian island in the Pacific.

Russian oil company workers learned of their fate from the Western press. They did not receive any notification regarding these changes. A treatment that is far from that received by employees of Western companies that joined the sanctions and whose workers officially went to an unlimited-time unemployment fund “na prostoe”, as they say in Russia (“in the simple state”). Despite the Western response to the war, it was thought that these companies would remain untouched by the reaction, as had already happened after the events of 2008 in Georgia and 2014 in Ukraine itself.

Oil prices skyrocketed and no one thought such a profitable facility would be abandoned. From Houston, they first tried to provide calm, but the president of Exxon Neftegaz, Shelly Boure, called an extraordinary general meeting and, with tears in her eyes, announced the withdrawal from Sakhalin.

Within two days, hundreds of foreign employees hurriedly left, packing the bare minimum. The town of Olympia, which was built for Exxon foreigners, has turned into a desert: children’s bikes are still on the streets, and technology and electronic devices left in homes may later be shipped to their rightful owners. owners.

Some mixed families suddenly split up, leaving at home the spouse or partner of Russian nationality with whom relations were not entirely official. All over Sakhalin one has the impression of an apocalyptic catastrophe, as its inhabitants tell Sibir.Realii: “Before we lived a safe and comfortable life, now we no longer know how to pay our current expenses, and there is no certainty about the future.” Some officials of the Russian Rosneft showed up at the scene to carry out an inspection, assuring that “everything will be as before, and even better”, and then disappeared.

Apparently Exxon shares will be acquired by some Indian companies, with the support of Rosneft itself, but there was no official announcement about it. There is no guarantee about the continuity of the more than 100 social projects that the company carried out and for which it disbursed two million dollars a year. One of the most important initiatives is the “Club Boomerang”, founded in 1998, which focuses on “promoting the relationship with the environment and its protection in human beings, through ecological and educational activities, tourism and entertainment, and the creative work of the children and youth of the Sakhalin region” Its president, Valentina Mezentseva, is desperate for the departure of the Americans and British, “who have done so much for the growth of civil society in our land”.

For many years, the club has organized adventure trips for young people, using all kinds of means, from gliders to kayaks, passing through the “night of the whales”. The latter takes place on board a ship, and is called “School of Nature”, an experience so advanced that it has been taken as a model in many other parts of the world. War not only destroys things and people, it also destroys your soul.



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Written by Editor TLN

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