Exxon Mobil is pursuing a waiver from Treasury Department sanctions on Russia to drill in the Black Sea in a venture with Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, a former State Department official said on Wednesday. An oil industry official confirmed the account.
The waiver application was made under the Obama administration, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity, and the company has not dropped the proposal.
The proposal is now before the Trump administration at a delicate time in Russian-American relations, with rising tensions over the war in Syria and a looming congressional inquiry into reports of Russian efforts to influence the United States presidential election.
Here is how John McCain responded to the news.
Well that seems an appropriate question.Are they crazy? @WSJ: "Exxon Seeks U.S. Waiver to Resume #Russia Oil Venture" https://t.co/CHKS3sjOa8— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) April 19, 2017
As you might remember Rachel Maddow reported on this Rosnef deal way back in January, and actually suggested it had a lot to do with why the Russians were so keen on helping Trump win the White House.
Back then she even stated that the deal was "Biggest oil deal in the history of deals. So big it was expected to change the historical trajectory of Russia."
Yesterday Maddow tweeted this in response to the Wall Street Journal's reporting.
How could this NOT be our first response to hearing Exxon make this request?Ka-ching! Payout time.https://t.co/fovQGP09AQ— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) April 19, 2017
So the question to ask is whether the Trump Administration is actually arrogant enough to grant this request, and what Russia will do if they do not?