Treasury rejects Exxon's request for Russia sanctions exemption

Treasury rejects Exxon's request for Russia sanctions exemption

File photo taken in 2012 shows a sign for U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil at the company's Torance Refinery in Torrance, Calif.

The Trump administration said Friday that it would not exempt Exxon from sanctions in Russia, dealing a setback to the oil giant's ambitions for resuming drilling there through a joint venture.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that he had consulted with President Trump before deciding not to give Exxon special treatment.

Exxon stock didn't move much after the announcement. Shares have been down slightly all day and were down 0.1% to $80.89 at 2:23 p.m.

The oil giant's Russia dealings are in the spotlight in part because former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson relinquished his post to become Trump's secretary of State.

Tillerson, who sold his Exxon investments upon taking the job, once received an award from Russia President Vladimir Putin honoring their international friendship while Tillerson was leading the oil company. Exxon also donated $500,000 to Trump's inaugural committee.

But political tension over what U.S. officials believe is Russia's meddling in the presidential election on Trump's behalf has complicated the president's campaign promise of mending ties with Putin.

Still, Exxon had requested an exemption from sanctions to resume its joint venture drilling with Russian giant Rosneft, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

"The Treasury Department will not be issuing waivers to U.S. companies, including Exxon, authorizing drilling prohibited by current Russian sanctions," Mnuchin said Friday.

An Exxon spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Jan. 31, Exxon investor relations chief Jeff Woodbury said the company "will continue to fully comply with the existing sanctions" in Russia but declined to speculate on "when or if they are fully satisfied and removed in the future."

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.



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