WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has rejected a request from Exxon Mobil to waive U.S. sanctions against Russia to allow the company to resume oil drilling around the Black Sea.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday in a brief statement that the administration “will not be issuing waivers to U.S. companies, including Exxon, authorizing drilling prohibited by current Russian sanctions.”
Exxon said it understood the decision, while suggesting that the outcome will merely help European oil companies operating under less-stringent restrictions.
The decision comes just two days after it was reported that Exxon was seeking a waiver to resume a joint venture with Rosneft, a Russian state-owned oil company. Exxon said it filed the request in 2015.
The disclosure of Exxon’s application was criticized in Congress by lawmakers who said the Trump administration should not reduce sanctions after U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia interfered in last year’s presidential election. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., tweeted of Exxon’s request, “Are they crazy?”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was Exxon’s CEO before joining President Donald Trump’s cabinet. While at Exxon, he cultivated close ties with Rosneft and Russian officials including President Vladimir Putin, and he spoke against sanctions that were imposed in 2014 in response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.
The sanctions bar U.S. oil companies from transferring to Russia the advanced technology that is used to drill more efficiently offshore and in shale formations. Exxon has said in regulatory filings that the sanctions could lead to losses of up to $1 billion.
An Exxon spokesman said the company’s application for a waiver was made to meet contractual obligations under a joint-venture agreement in Russia, “where competitor companies are authorized to undertake such work under European sanctions.”
Rosneft officials have said that their joint venture with Italy’s Eni S.p.A. plans to begin drilling this year in the Black Sea next to the area where Exxon hoped to drill.
Under Treasury Department rules, ExxonMobil could resubmit its application if it provides additional information the government hadn’t reviewed previously.
Irving, Texas-based Exxon has disclosed receiving three waivers from the sanctions during the Obama administration for limited work with Rosneft.
Exxon’s critics urged the Treasury Department to block more waivers, which they feared would give new momentum to drilling in the environmentally sensitive Russian Arctic.
Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. fell 32 cents to close Friday at $80.69.
Koenig reported from Dallas.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides
- Caring Crisis: Rising tide In Alzheimer’s disease leads to shortage of caregivers
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain