'No impact' on ExxonMobil's Russian business

No impact: ExxonMobil still going strong in Russia despite sanction CEO Tillerson says

ExxonMobil's drilling operations in Russia and its partnership with Russian oil company Rosneft have so far not been disrupted by tensions between Russia and Ukraine or sanctions imposed by the US, the US supermajor's chief executive said on Wednesday.

"We're extremely proud of what we've been able to accomplish in Russia," Reuters quoted Rex Tillerson as telling shareholders. "They've been very good partners for us."

He added that ExxonMobil does not "generally" support sanctions and has made that view known to the US government, which has imposed economic penalties on several individuals, including Rosneft chief Igor Sechin.

Rosneft was not named in the sanctions, which were imposed after the West complained that Russia was meddling in the affairs of Ukraine.

"We're having conversations such that our views are being heard at the highest levels," Tillerson told reporters after the company's annual meeting, declining to elaborate.

The US penalties have so far not affected ExxonMobil's relationship with Rosneft and the US company has been able to hold meetings with Sechin in Russia and Europe, Tillerson said.

While some Western oil companies have left Russia in recent years because of a difficult business climate, US giants ExxonMobil and Chevron, along with UK behemoth BP, have significant ties there.

In Russia, ExxonMobil's net holdings in Sakhalin at the end of 2013 totaled 85,000 acres, all offshore, and its net holdings in Rosneft joint-venture agreements for the Kara and Black seas were 11.3 million acres.

The two companies also have a joint venture to evaluate the development of tight-oil reserves in western Siberia.

Just last week, Rosneft and ExxonMobil signed a deal to continue work on the Far East LNG project, which will be fed from the companies' Sakhalin wells.

Separately, Chevron chief executive John Watson said after an annual shareholder meeting that the California-based supermajor remains interested in developing shale gas deposits in western Ukraine.

He also said the company is closely monitoring the development of relations with Russia.

"In principle, we'd like to invest in Ukraine," Watson said on Wednesday. "It would be good for the country."

Last fall Chevron signed a $10 billion deal to develop Ukraine's Olesska field, which is estimated to hold enough natural gas to supply the EU's needs for three years.

The agreement is designed to unfold slowly over 50 years, with an initial investment by Chevron in the next two or three years of only $350 million for exploration work.

Watson said he nor any Chevron staff member has yet to speak with Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine's president-elect, about the project, according to a Reuters report.


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