Exxon seeks OK to resume Russian oil venture

During at least three occasions in 2015 and 2016, Exxon was granted licenses allowing "limited administrative actions" in Russian Federation, according to annual shareholder disclosures.

The Obama administration previously issued an executive order that imposed sanctions on Russian Federation in response to the country's actions in Ukraine.

The Exxon Mobil waiver request for the Black Sea was first reported Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal.

Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said the company does not comment on ongoing discussions with regulators. A Treasury representative said the department would not comment on individual licenses or waiver requests.

The company originally applied for a waiver to gain access to the Black Sea in July 2015 but its application wasn't approved, the report said. European companies, particularly Eni, the Italian giant, could then pick up the work.

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The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control can issue waivers to enable companies to dodge sanctions, but the matter is likely to be scrutinized in Congress and other corridors in Washington, D.C., because it comes at a time of deep distrust between the United States and the Kremlin.

As Exxon CEO, Tillerson opposed the sanctions, telling shareholders in 2014 that sanctions were usually ineffective and caused "very broad collateral damage". But he pointed out that it has in the past been granted permission from Treasury to keep intact Exxon's joint venture with Rosneft, despite the sanctions.

Exxon and Rosneft signed a landmark deal in 2012 under Tillerson's leadership to explore Russia's arctic and its portion of the Black Sea, as well as drill in Siberia.

The news came as the FBI investigates any possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation after the 2016 USA presidential election.

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