Texas-based oil giant accused of failing to help its Russian workers avoid being conscripted by Putin, report says

The exterior of a Schlumberger Corporation building is pictured in West Houston January 16, 2015.   REUTERS/Richard Carson/File Photo
Schlumberger is based in Houston.Reuters
  • Schlumberger is passing draft notices on to some of its 9,000 Russian employees, Reuters reported.

  • Russian firms are obliged to register staff for the military after Putin's September mobilization.

  • The move is regarded as tacit approval of the Ukraine invasion, sources told Reuters.

Schlumberger, the Texas-based oilfield services company, is failing to offer an escape route from Vladimir Putin's conscription orders to some employees in Russia, Reuters reported.

Some workers have begun receiving draft notices ordering them to join the Russian army, according to a report by the news agency.

Schlumberger was co-operating with authorities by handing the notices to employees, and by failing to authorize remote work for its employees to help them escape the country, sources told Reuters.

The move is regarded as tacit approval for Moscow's stuttering invasion of Ukraine, they said.

While Schlumberger hasn't disclosed the number of Russian workers affected, the notices are understood to affect about a tenth of its 9,000 employees in the country.

Putin announced a partial mobilization of up to 300,000 troops on September 21, with Putin about 220,000 called up so far, per Politico.

Several reports have emerged of Russian citizens attempting to flee the country in response, with some paying up to $27,000 to get on private jets.

Companies in Russia are required "to conduct military registration of the staff if at least one of the employees is liable for military service," according to the human rights group Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC).

In March, Schlumberger announced it would stop new investment and technology deployment to its Russian operations. The New York-listed company is valued at about $60 billion.

According to Yale's Chief Executive Leadership Institute, which tracks the response of US companies with operations in Russia to Moscow's invasion, Schlumberger's response is regarded as "buying time" while it continues to carry out the bulk of its business in the country.

The BHRRC told Reuters that Roche and Novo Nordisk, two other non-Russian companies, had requested military exemptions for their employees.

"The local leadership team is managing an incredibly complex and difficult situation," a Schlumberger spokesperson told Reuters in an emailed statement.

The US-based spokesperson added that managers were obliged "to comply with local laws and regulations, especially when failure to do so could create additional risk for our local employees."

International sanctions "do not permit US or EU persons to provide consultation or instructions on employment practices to Russia," the spokesperson added, with employment decisions left to local managers.

Schlumberger didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside normal working hours.

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