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French oil firm TotalEnergies denies link to Russian jet supplies

French oil firm TotalEnergies denies link to Russian jet supplies

France's transport minister has called for light to be shed on allegations that oil firm TotalEnergies has been indirectly involved in supplying fuel to Russia's air force.

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While most Western companies have left Russia, TotalEnergies still has a 49% stake in a Russian gas field.

French reports said jet fuel produced from its gas had been used by Russian fighter jets in Ukraine.

TotalEnergies has rejected the reports, complaining of unfounded allegations.

"It's an extremely serious subject," Transport Minister Clément Beaune told France 2 TV. "So it has to be cleared up whether, voluntarily or involuntarily, there has been a misappropriation of either the sanctions or of the energy produced by any company, French or otherwise."

According to Le Monde newspaper, liquid gas condensate from the Termokarstovoye field in Siberia has been converted by a refinery in Omsk into kerosene used as jet fuel by Russian bombers. The paper's allegations were based on an investigation by NGO Global Witness.

The fuel supplied Sukhoi jets that bombarded Mariupol, it reported, in particular the 16 March attack on the Ukrainian city's theatre where some 600 people were killed.

TotalEnergies not only owns almost half the gas field, it also owns more than 18% of the Russian firm Novatek, which controls the rest of it. However, it says it has begun the "gradual suspension of its activities" in Russia.

Global Witness said between 13 February and July some 40,000 tonnes of kerosene had been transported west from Omsk to Russian air force bases much closer to Ukraine, in Voronezh and Morozovsk.