Exxon seeks OK to resume Russian oil venture


But Tillerson and company officials did note that Exxon Mobil had received a waiver to complete drilling an exploration well in Russia's Arctic waters.

The company wound down drilling in Russia's Arctic in 2014 in the face of USA sanctions targeting cooperation between Western companies and Moscow's oil sector.

Exxon Mobil is seeking permission from the US government for approval to resume drilling around the Black Sea with a Russian partner, state-owned Rosneft, according to a person familiar with the matter.

An Exxon spokesman said the company declined to comment on ongoing issues.

Treasury does not speak publicly about such waivers or their considerations, and Exxon did not return a request for comment.

Notably, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is the former CEO of Exxon. European companies, particularly Eni, the Italian giant, could then pick up the work.

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Among those charged with deciding to grant the permit is Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon who previously oversaw the company's Russian Federation operations. Sanctions also prohibit dealings with Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin.

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 Russia sanctions have cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Journal reported that the waiver request is likely to be closely scrutinized by members of Congress who are seeking to intensify sanctions on Russian Federation in response to what the USA said was its use of cyberattacks to interfere with elections previous year.

Any request from Exxon to expand its business in Russian Federation is bound to draw scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers investigating possible ties between some campaign aides of U.S. President Donald Trump and Moscow.

Its Rosneft deal is not the first time that the oil giant and Tillerson have come under scrutiny for maneuvering itself in relation to US sanctions. Exxon was allowed to finish some drilling projects as the sanctions took effect.