Exxon Chief Hails Russia Plans Alongside Sanctioned Rosneft CEO

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson talked up his company’s prospects in Russia, appearing in Moscow alongside OAO Rosneft (ROSN) CEO Igor Sechin, who’s been sanctioned by the U.S. government.

Work between Texas-based Exxon, the world’s largest oil company by market value, and state-run Rosneft on Sakhalin Island in Russia’s Far East provides a template for further exploration, especially in the Arctic’s Kara Sea, Tillerson said at the World Petroleum Congress in Moscow today.

“We look forward to taking advances achieved in the cutting-edge success in the Far East of Russia and building on them to unlock new supplies of oil and gas,” Tillerson said.

Exxon Mobil is pursuing a global alliance with Rosneft even after the U.S. imposed sanctions on Sechin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, as part of a package to punish Russia for annexing Crimea from Ukraine. The two companies plan to drill a well in the Kara Sea later this year, targeting a formation that could hold more than 8 billion barrels of oil.

“All major projects this year are related to our joint work with Exxon,” Sechin, who’s banned from traveling to the U.S., said at the same event. It’s “business as usual.”

Tillerson declined to comment on U.S. sanctions on Sechin.

As well as the Sakhalin project and Kara Sea exploration, Exxon’s alliance with Rosneft includes shale exploration in Siberia and joint venture fields in Texas.

The remoteness of the Arctic well -- four days voyage from the nearest port in iceberg-prone seas -- means it will be among the most expensive Exxon has ever drilled, costing at least $600 million.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduard Gismatullin in Moscow at egismatullin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net Tony Barrett

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