Exxon, Citing Sanctions, To Abandon Joint Ventures With Russia’s Rosneft

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    Exxon Mobil Corp cited U.S. and European sanctions against Russia in announcing that it is abandoning its joint ventures with Russian state-run oil giant Rosneft, RFE/RL reports.

    The move late on February 28 signaled that the largest U.S. oil company is giving up on its fight against U.S. sanctions imposed since 2014 over Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

    Exxon, which was headed by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson before he joined the government, had argued that the sanctions unfairly penalize U.S. firms while allowing foreign rivals such as China’s big oil companies to operate freely in Russia, which is currently the world’s largest oil producer.

    Exxon’s 2013 agreement with Rosneft to explore millions of acres of potentially lucrative Russian oil fields from the Arctic Sea to the Black Sea was Tillerson’s crowning achievement during his 11 years at the company.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin personally blessed the arrangement, which envisioned decades of exploration in some of Russia’s richest untouched fields. The two companies planned to spend as much as $500 billion on their joint projects.

    Exxon said in a securities filing on February 28 that its decision to abandon its biggest exploration region was made late last year as the U.S. expanded sanctions against Russia.

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