WASHINGTON, November 20 (Sputnik) – The US Treasury clarified the definition of "shale project" for the energy industry amid sanctions targeting all Russian shale oil projects, but it does not imply sanctions relief, the department's spokesperson has told Sputnik.
"Our [US] sanctions will continue to impede Russia's ability to pursue frontier oil projects, for which Russian companies rely heavily on western technology and expertise," the spokesperson from the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control, which monitors and implements economic and trade sanctions, said Wednesday.
The US Treasury Department issued the technical clarification earlier this week, defining the meaning of the term "shale projects" after confusion within the US energy industry.
"It reflects what we had intended when we originally imposed these sanctions, and is consistent with what we understand the industry interpretation of our terminology to be," the spokesperson told Sputnik, adding that this is "certainly not a rollback of sanctions".
As a result of Western sanctions imposed against Russia, energy giants such as ExxonMobil, Total and Shell have pulled out of a number of joint shale oil and gas projects with Russia's GazpromNeft.
The United States, the European Union and their allies have imposed several rounds of economic sanctions on Russia over its alleged meddling in the Ukrainian conflict. The two most recent waves of sanctions particularly target Russia's energy sector, prohibiting the export of goods, services and technologies for deep-water, Arctic and shale oil exploration to Russia.
As part of Western restrictive measures, three major Russian oil companies — Rosneft, Transneft, and GazpromNeft — have been barred from seeking finance on European capital markets.