US rejected Exxon's bid to bypass sanctions on Russia

Indo Asian News Service

Washington, April 22 (IANS) The US Treasury Department said on Friday it will not issue drilling waiver to Exxon Mobil Corporation to work with a Russian state oil company as prohibited by US sanctions on Russia.

"In consultation with President Donald Trump, the Treasury Department will not be issuing waivers to US companies, including Exxon, authorising drilling prohibited by current Russian sanctions," Xinhua news agency quoted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as saying.

Exxon has reportedly been seeking the US government's permission to work with Russia's state-run oil giant PAO Rosneft to drill for oil in the Black Sea, an area covered by US sanctions imposed on Russia after the latter's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

In response, Exxon said that it understands Mnuchin's statement that was issued in consultation with Trump.

"Our 2015 application for a license under the provisions outlined in the US sanctions was made to enable our company to meet its contractual obligations under a joint venture agreement in Russia, where competitor companies are authorised to undertake such work under European sanctions," Exxon said in a statement.

The Exxon joint venture agreement with PAO Rosneft was inked in 2012 when incumbent Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was Exxon's CEO.

The State Department is one of several US agencies tasked with approving sanctions waivers, but Tillerson has said that he will recuse himself from making decisions involving his former company for at least two years.