Exxon seeks waiver from US sanctions on Russia

20 April, 2017, 09:06 | Author: Celia Hoffman
  • Exxon had to stop a joint venture with Russia's Rosneft headed by Igor Sechin

The former oil executive received Russia's Order of Friendship award in 2013 due to his work with Putin and the Exxon-Rosneft deal.

The Obama administration previously issued an executive order that imposed sanctions on Russian Federation in response to the country's actions in Ukraine.

Exxon Mobil Corp. applied to the Treasury Department for a waiver from sanctions on Russian Federation in an effort to restart its joint venture with state oil company PAO Rosneft, according to the Wall Street Journal's Jay Solomon and Bradley Olson. A Treasury representative said the department would not comment on individual licenses or waiver requests.

The Treasury Department, which would handle Exxon's application to drill around the Black Sea, did not respond to a request for comment. Tillerson retired as Exxon CEO at the end of past year. Exxon was ordered to stop drilling in the Kara Sea off Russia's northern coast.

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Exxon and Rosneft in 2012 had unveiled an offshore exploration partnership with plans to invest as much as $500 billion in developing Russia's vast energy reserves in the Arctic and Black seas. But he pointed out that it has in the past been granted permission from Treasury to keep intact Exxon's joint venture with Rosneft, despite the sanctions.

Any request from Exxon to expand its business in Russian Federation is bound to draw scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers investigating possible ties between some campaign aides of U.S. President Donald Trump and Moscow.

Exxon's critics said that if the Trump administration approved Exxon's request, which was reported first by The Wall Street Journal, then Congress should block it on environmental and national-interest grounds.

Exxon has been seeking USA permission to drill with Rosneft in several areas banned by sanctions and renewed a push for approval in March, shortly after its most recent chief executive, Rex Tillerson, became secretary of state on February 1.

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