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U.S. Treasury Chief Rejects Exxon Bid To Resume Oil Drilling In Russia

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (file photo)
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (file photo)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the Trump administration will not grant permission to Exxon Mobil and other companies to resume drilling for oil in areas covered by U.S. sanctions against Russia.

Mnuchin said in an April 21 statement that the decision had been made in consultation with President Donald Trump.

U.S. media reported that Exxon Mobil had applied for a waiver from U.S. sanctions on Russia so it could resume drilling around the Black Sea with its partner, Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft.

"We understand the statement today by Secretary Mnuchin in consultation with President Trump," Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said.

Exxon was arguing it deserved a waiver because its exploration rights in the Black Sea will expire if it does not act by this year, and because some of its competitors in Europe are not similarly restricted.

The Texas-based oil giant was run until this year by Rex Tillerson.

When he was chief executive of Exxon Mobil, Tillerson had opposed the sanctions imposed in 2014 over Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region.

But since becoming the U.S. secretary of state under Trump, Tillerson has backed the sanctions.

The sanctions prohibit U.S. companies from transferring advanced offshore and shale drilling technology to Russia. Exxon was ordered to stop drilling in the Kara Sea off Russia's northern coast after they were imposed.

Based on reporting by AP, The Wall Street Journal, and Reuters