Exxon Wants Waiver From Sanctions To Drill In Russia

Rex Tillerson Delivers Remarks At State Department On North Korea And Iran

Rex Tillerson Delivers Remarks At State Department On North Korea And Iran

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the decision was made after consultation with President Donald Trump, according to a statement on Friday.

Exxon Mobil requested a waiver Wednesday from us sanctions against Russian Federation in hopes of doing business with a competing energy company.

During the campaign, Trump spoke warmly of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and suggested he might be willing to lift some of the sanctions on the country the United States imposed after Russia's invasion of Ukraine and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. However, due to USA sanctions, Exxon Mobil was forced to halt projects under the agreement on strategic cooperation with Rosneft, including drilling in the Kara Sea.

The Obama administration previously issued an executive order that imposed sanctions on Russian Federation in response to the country's actions in Ukraine. As a wave of competitors move in on the lucrative Black Sea region, the USA oil giant could stand to lose out if it doesn't act quickly.

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. Tillerson said during his confirmation hearing that "obviously there's a statutory recusal period, which I will adhere to, on any matters that might come before the State Department that deal directly and specifically with ExxonMobil".

Exxon said it understood the decision, while suggesting that the outcome would merely help European oil companies operating under less-stringent restrictions.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Exxon is asking for a sanctions waiver because its exploration rights in the Black Sea will soon expire if the company does not act.

The sanctions also affected deepwater drilling, stopping Exxon from working in the Black Sea where water depths can exceed 1,000ft. To my knowledge, Exxon Mobil never lobbied against the sanctions.

Exxon said in a statement to CBS News that it applied for the waiver because the companies it competes with in Europe are not barred from doing similar work in Russian Federation.

The move ends what could have been seen as a controversial conflict of interest for the Trump administration, with the oil giant's former CEO Rex Tillerson now leading the State Department. Exxon did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation's request for comment in time for the publication of this article.

It's most recent waiver request could become a contested issue in Congress, especially among lawmakers who want stricter sanctions against Russian Federation. Exxon Mobil participated in understanding how the sanctions were going to be constructed.

The State Department has said that Tillerson will recuse himself from any issue involving Exxon for two years.

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