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Russian fuel at UK supermarkets

Supermarket-branded tankers caught filling up at oil terminal known to import Russian diesel
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
UK Supermarkets Petrol Stations Fill up on Russian Diesel

Main image: © Kristian Buus / Greenpeace

Fuel tankers from the ‘big four’ supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s Asda and Morrisons – have been caught filling up at an Essex oil terminal where a shipment of Russian diesel arrived this week.

Supermarket tankers were filmed on Wednesday May 18 and Thursday May 19 arriving at Navigator Terminals, just hours after a 33,000-tonne shipment was delivered.

Fuel trucks from Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons were then tracked and pictured offloading diesel at forecourt storage tanks in Norfolk and Bedford, meaning drivers could be unwittingly filling up on diesel that is directly funding Putin’s war in Ukraine.

An Asda tanker was also pictured leaving Navigator Terminals but could not be tracked to its destination.

Greenpeace has written to all four supermarkets demanding an explanation, and asking them to call on the government to ban Russian fossil fuels from entering the UK.

‘Supermarkets were quick to remove Russian vodka from shelves and rename their chicken Kievs as chicken Kyivs. 

‘Customers will be outraged if supermarkets are asking them to donate to Ukraine at the till, but passing their money to Putin at the pump. 

‘If Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons truly want to stand by Ukraine, they should make sure they’re not filling their pumps with Putin’s diesel that is directly funding his bloody war. At the very least, they should demand that the government implement an immediate ban on imports of Russian fossil fuels.’

Greenpeace UK oil and gas campaigner

Supermarket diesel

These revelations come as new polling from YouGov, commissioned by Greenpeace UK, shows how 73% of people want the UK government to bring in an immediate ban on imports of Russian oil and gas.

The YouGov poll shows that the vast majority (74%) of the British public are unaware that fuel on sale at supermarket petrol stations may contain Russian diesel and most (71%) want supermarkets to immediately end the sale of  Russian diesel. 

This latest shipment of diesel was imported into Navigator Terminals, Essex, on Tuesday (17 May)], a day later than planned, following a Greenpeace protest blocking the tanker’s intended berth.

Activists succeeded in delaying the shipment for 37 hours but police arrests meant that the cargo was eventually offloaded on the second attempt. 

On Wednesday and Thursday supermarket tankers arrived to fuel up from Navigator Terminals, and campaigners then followed those tanker lorries to supermarket forecourts, where they offloaded their cargo. 

Tracking Russian fuel

The UK has declared a ban on the arrival of Russian-flagged and Russian-owned vessels, but Russian fossil fuels are still arriving via ships registered to other countries. And the government’s ban on Russian oil imports is still more than seven months away.

Greenpeace has launched a Tanker Tracker which makes it possible to see when tanker shipments of fossil fuels are leaving Russia, and when they’re set to arrive in ports in the UK and around the world. 

Greenpeace has contacted each of the four supermarkets for comment. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) confirmed that Russian diesel had not yet been phased out. 

Andrew Opie, Director for Food at the BRC, said: ‘Our members are fully committed to phasing out Russian oil in line with the Government’s decision and are working to do so as quickly as possible while ensuring good supply for customers.’

‘We stand together with the people of Ukraine and have taken a range of steps to show our support – from helping to fund the humanitarian effort on the ground, to removing products from our stores which are 100% sourced from Russia.

‘Today we have confirmed that we are already working to reduce the amount of diesel we sell which comes from Russia and we will stop selling diesel from Russia in our petrol filling stations in line with the UK’s action against Russian oil imports, by the end of the year. 

‘This is a complex process which we are committed to working together with the rest of the UK fuel industry and Government to achieve, as part of the UK’s action against Russian oil imports.’

Sainsbury’s spokesperson

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