MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, media reports said Exxon Mobil had reapplied to the US Department of the Treasury for a waiver from US sanctions on Russia to resume its business with the Russian oil giant Rosneft. Exxon has been seeking to return to its projects with the Russian company since 2015 but this was rejected by former President Barack Obama's administration.
"While a waiver to allow business with prohibited Russian entities may be in Exxon Mobil’s interest, it would clearly not be in America’s national security interest," Republican Senator Marco Rubio told the Wall Street Journal.
Other members of Congress, including Democrat Senator Bob Menendez, Democrat House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee member Eliot Engel and Senator John McCain, also expressed strong opposition to any easing of restrictions on Exxon's participation in Russian projects.
ExxonMobil and Rosneft agreed on joint drilling in 2011, with the cooperation deal spanning oil fields in the Black Sea, the Russian Arctic, in the United States and in third countries. The two companies focused on the Black Sea but have since discovered a new oil field in the Kara Sea in late 2014. Any further work was hampered by US sanctions imposed earlier that year after the outbreak of the Ukrainian conflict with Washington accusing Russia of meddling.
The joint venture deal was struck by then-Exxon's CEO and now US State Secretary Rex Tillerson. It remains unclear whether Exxon applied for a waiver before or after Tillerson was confirmed as state secretary.
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