PRESIDENT Donald Trump’s administration will not grant ExxonMobil a waiver from US sanctions on Russia, following its request to drill in the Black Sea.
In the wake of the announcement by US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday, it is anticipated that European companies could now pursue an exploration programme.
Exxon’s applied to resume drilling in a joint venture with Rosneft, a majority government-owned Russian oil producer.
In a brief statement, Mnuchin said the administration “will not be issuing waivers to US companies, including Exxon, authorising drilling prohibited by current Russian sanctions.”
The sanctions were imposed by the US in 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine. Exxon said that it understands the decision, but has suggested that the outcome will merely benefit European oil companies operating under less-stringent restrictions.
The application was filed with the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control in 2015, when Trump’s current secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was Exxon’s chief executive. Texas-based Exxon has disclosed receiving three sanctions waivers under the Obama administration to continue limited work with Rosneft.
Under Treasury department rules, the company could resubmit its application if it provides additional information the government hasn't reviewed previously.
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