Total seeks to avoid oil from sanctioned Russian tycoon Gutseriyev - traders

The logo of French oil and gas company TotalEnergies is pictured at an electric car charging station and petrol station at the financial and business district of La Defense in Courbevoie near Paris, France, June 22, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

MOSCOW, June 23 (Reuters) - TotalEnergies SE (TOTF.PA) has asked commodity pricing agency S&P Global Platts to avoid buying oil from Russian businessman Mikhail Gutseriyev as European energy firms and trading houses seek clarification from the EU after it slapped him with sanctions, traders said.

The European Union included Gutseriyev, the largest single foreign investor in Belarus, in sanctions announced on Monday in response to the forced landing of a passenger plane in Minsk on May 23 to arrest a journalist. It has blacklisted Belarus transport, defence and air traffic officials as part of coordinated action with the United States, Canada and Britain. read more

Gutseriyev is a major owner and founder of Safmar Holding, the management company for Russian oil producers Russneft (RNFT.MM) and Neftisa as well as refining companies Forteinvest and Adamas, according to data on the company's website.

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Oil traders said TotalEnergies has sought to buy only "cargo fully compliant with EU sanctions" Platts' trading system.

S&P Global Platts said it has a clear policy on the treatment of products under trading embargoes or sanctions in its Platts Assessments Methodology Guide.

"We are committed to not reflecting material from those entities in the assessments we publish", it said in a written answer to a Reuters query.

Total declined to comment.

The move to comply by TotalEneergies is the first sign of how the sanctions are starting to have an impact on Gytseriyev's interests. read more

TotalEnergies and other major European oil companies and trading firms as well as Safmar Holding were also consulting lawyers and the EU about the terms of work under the sanctions, the three traders added.

"It is not clear how and if we may continue to work with companies connected to Gutseriyev, so we were advised not to touch these barrels until it is clear," one of the traders told Reuters.

Safmar Holding and trading firm Glencore Glencore (GLEN.L) -- which is a major buyer of Russneft and Neftisa export oil cargoes -- declined to comment.

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Reporting by Olga Yagova, Gleb Gorodyankin; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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