Federal sanctions placed on Russia prevent U.S. companies from engaging in certain types of business relationships, but some can apply for waivers with the U.S. Treasury Department. ExxonMobil is one of those companies, seeking to do business with Russia’s state-run oil company in a deal negotiated by now-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
From The Wall Street Journal:
Exxon has been seeking U.S. permission to drill with Rosneft in several areas banned by sanctions and applied in recent months for a waiver to proceed in the Black Sea, according to [sources familiar with the matter]. The company has sought approval for access to the region since at least late 2015, one person said….
Tillerson is Exxon’s former chief executive officer and in that role forged a close working relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and with Rosneft, a company that is critical to Russia’s oil-reliant economy.
The State Department is one of the agencies would weigh in on the waiver decision, but Sec. Tillerson said he would recuse himself from any Exxon-related matters, but just for two years. The Treasury Department would not comment on whether or not this waiver application was submitted before Tillerson joined the administration or after he severed ties with the company.
In order to partner with Rosneft to drill in Siberia, the Arctic, and the Black Sea, U.S. companies would have to share state-of-the-art drilling equipment and techniques. This would violate the current sanctions against Russia preventing the “transfer of technology.”
Rosneft was also involved with the alleged “bribe” offered to Trump adviser Carter Page, noted in the dossier complied by former MI-6 Agent Christopher Steele. Page would later be revealed as the subject of a FISA warrant, allowing the government to monitor his communications. Page denies he did anything improper and said he plans to sue the former Obama administration.
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