AP Source: Exxon seeks OK to resume Russian oil venture

By:  @randy, 5 months ago
Comments: 13 ..


The oil giant's request is being reviewed by the Trump administration and is certain to draw extra scrutiny because it involves a company formerly run by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who cultivated close ties with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin.


The drilling venture was blocked when the U.S. imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014. Exxon applied to the Treasury Department for a waiver from the sanctions in 2015, during the Obama administration, according to the person, who spoke anonymously because the application process is confidential. Exxon has publicly disclosed licenses for other work in Russia that required waivers.


An Exxon spokesman said the company declined to comment on ongoing issues.


The Treasury Department, which would handle Exxon's application to drill around the Black Sea, did not respond to a request for comment.


A State Department spokesman said Tillerson has recused himself from any matters involving Exxon for two years and is not involved with any decision involving the company before any government agency. Tillerson retired as Exxon CEO at the end of last year. He has known Putin for about two decades — the Russian president awarded Tillerson a special honor in 2013.


Irving, Texas-based Exxon disclosed in regulatory filings in 2015 and 2016 that it received three licenses from the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control to conduct "limited administrative actions" with Rosneft. The company said it was complying with all sanctions regarding investments in Russia.


The sanctions were imposed after Russia annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014. Among other things, U.S. companies were prohibited from transferring advanced technology used to drill offshore and in shale formations. Exxon was ordered to stop drilling in the Kara Sea off Russia's northern coast. The head of Exxon's Russian partner, Rosneft, was personally blacklisted.


As Exxon CEO, Tillerson opposed the sanctions, telling shareholders in 2014 that sanctions were usually ineffective and caused "very broad collateral damage."


Tillerson and Exxon agreed to the venture with Rosneft in 2011. The Russia sanctions have cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars. Exxon reported in 2015 that its potential losses related to the Rosneft venture could run to $1 billion.


If the sanctions are lifted Exxon could push ahead with lucrative exploration and production opportunities in the Black Sea, Siberia and the Russian Arctic.


Exxon's ambitions could be complicated, however, by concern over what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded were Russian cyberattacks to interfere with the U.S. presidential election last year. Congress is also investigating possible ties between aides to then-candidate Donald Trump and Russian officials.


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.


A Greenpeace official, Naomi Ages, said approving Exxon's request to drill in the Black Sea would give momentum to drilling in the Arctic and "would also send a message to Russia that it can intervene in any country, including the United States, with no consequences."


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link   Randy    5 months ago

Rosneft estimates that there are 87 billion barrels of oil out there that they can't dill for because they are in a partnership with EXXON/Mobil who holds the rights to drill there, but they can't drill for it because there are sanctions that the US has put on doing business with Russia because they took over Crimea and are involved in the civil war in Ukraine. Now EXXON/Mobil wants approval to have an exception to those sanctions and drill there anyway, which would mean hundreds of billions of dollars for Russia and EXXON/Mobil and they have to get permission from the US State Department to do it. Now, who is the current Secretary of State? Rex Tillerson who was the CEO of EXXON/Mobil and is the person who put the drilling deal together with Putin and earned him the highest medal that the Russian government can award a non-Russian. Now Rex Tillerson has said he will "recuse" himself from the decision. However his also brings up the question of ow did Rex Tillerson become the Secretary of State? I mean he had absolutely no government experience at all. He certainly wasn't qualified or the job in any way. He wasn't an old friend of Trump's, who had never even heard of him before his transition after the election, so he must have come highly recommended by...someone? A common friend perhaps?

If EXXON/Mobil is granted this exception then the only real questions will be is how much money will Putin give to Tillerson and how much money will Putin give to Trump and will the Congress and the American people let them get away theft and corruption on this historic of a scale?


link   Aeonpax    5 months ago

Now who'd of thought it would be  "'Payout Time': Exxon Seeks Waiver From U.S. Sanctions to Drill in Russia" so soon after the election?

link   Randy  replied to  Aeonpax   5 months ago

I agree. I thought they'd wait awhile and then try to get all of the sanctions lifted so it wouldn't look so suspicious. I guess maybe the FBI is getting a little too close for Godfather Putin's comfort?

Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
link   Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Aeonpax   5 months ago

Yeah Aeon, ain't that just a slap on the ass?

Trump tried to sneak in sanction removal the first week as president, but I think someone was paying too much attention and it fell through the cracks.

link   Randy  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom   5 months ago

I sure would like to see how much stock Trump and Tillerson own in EXXON/Mobil? That would be in Trumps taxes now wouldn't it? Or are they going to do it the old fashioned way and just launder it through that Deutsche Bank that Putin uses?

Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
link   Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    5 months ago

How about Rex Tillerson's colleague and close friend, Donald Humphreys?  He retired from Exxon Mobil in 2013, and now sits on the board of directors at...farking Rosneft Oil.  Take a look at his fellow board members. You'll see one or two familiar names... 

link   Kavika    5 months ago

Whoda thunk it.

link   Randy  replied to  Kavika   5 months ago

Robert Dudley. Former Chairmen of the Board at BP. Must be some sort of fluke?

link   Randy  replied to  Randy   5 months ago

Oh and look. There's the former regional President for B operations in most of South America. Another fluke?

Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
link   Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Randy   5 months ago

If you are talking about Bob Dudley, he is still CEO Of BP.  His story is all-out nuts.  He actually worked in Moscow coordinating junk and stuff for BP.  He discovered he was about to be arrested for some phony-baloney charge or whatever.  He halls balls out of Moscow and goes into hiding, but was still able to take care of his business duties.  Then, he gets sick, and I mean really, really sick.  He was able to sneak out of Russia with only the clothes on his back, and return to the US, where medical testing showed that he had indeed been poisoned. 

Later, he was made CEO of BP, and was also elected to the board at Rosneft.  Who am I to judge, but I think I would stay as far away from Russia as possible.  I guess the lure of billions of dollars out-weighs the memories of his former associations. 

*edit* I just now saw your earlier mention of Bob Dudley.

link   Randy  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom   5 months ago

I wonder what he had to do to "make his peace" with Putin?

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