The russian edition of Forbes Magazine reported on August 15, 2016, that french Total has laid off 70 % of its russian workforce through its office in Moscow.
The dismissed staff members are said to have two months’ salary in compensation. Russian media reports indicate that 200 out of 600 employees were laid off, and the balance were transferred to the state owned oil company Zarubezhneft.
Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne explained: «Amid low crude prices we need optimize our assets as well as put a priority on spending management.»
Among the reported reasons for the move by Total was a withdrawal from the Kharyaga project and sanctions from the west that would prohibit Total from delivering equipment to the project.
The Russian edition of Forbes, citing an unnamed employee, said that Total had planned to attract technology from America and Europe to the project, but that sanctions blocked the plans.
Total had been the biggest foreign investor in Russian oil prior to selling its stake in the Kharyaga project. The project itself aims to develop a pair of oilfields in the Nenets Autonomous region, which produced 1.5 million tons of crude in 2014.