Trump Administration Says Exxon Can't Drill in Russia
Treasury Department denies waiver from Russian sanctions
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2017 3:49 PM CDT
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On Friday, the Trump administration denied a request from Exxon Mobil to waive US sanctions against Russia and allow it to resume oil drilling around the Black Sea.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

(Newser) – The US government won't be granting Exxon Mobil a waiver from Russian sanctions, Politico reports. It had been reported this week that the oil and gas company was seeking a waiver to allow it to drill in the Black Sea. The refusal of that waiver came Friday in the form of a one-sentence press release from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who added that no US companies will be given a waiver from Russian sanctions. The sanctions were put in place in 2014 by the Obama administration after Russia invaded Ukraine. They interrupted a partnership between Exxon and Russia's state-owned Rosneft.

Exxon's apparent request for a waiver was condemned by Republicans and Democrats alike, CNBC reports. For example, John McCain's response was a succinct, "Are they crazy?" It also put the Trump administration in a tough spot between continuing reports of ties between Russia and the Trump campaign and former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson's new gig as Secretary of State, according to the New York Times. An expert in energy geopolitics says had the waiver been granted, it may have ended up being bad, at least in terms of optics, for both the Trump administration and Exxon. The denial of the waiver comes with Trump apparently cooling on Russia and its president.

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