EXXON & RUSSIA: DOING BUSINESS AS USUAL
Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), which this month extended its partnership with Russia's OAO Rosneft (ROSN), hasn't had to change its business in the country amid Ukraine-related sanctions and said such steps are typically ineffective.
"We don't find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented," Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson said today during a shareholders meeting in Dallas. Authorities imposing the sanctions should consider "who are they really harming?"
Exxon is among American oil producers that ignored U.S. State Department recommendations to skip an energy forum in St. Petersburg last week as it extended a pact with Rosneft involving drilling for crude in the Arctic and Siberia. Exxon, through a 2011 deal with the state-run crude producer, owns drilling rights across 11.4 million acres of Russian land, including vast swaths of the Kara Sea.
U.S. and European nations have imposed sanctions to punish Vladimir Putin's regime for its actions in Ukraine. Among those targeted was Rosneft Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin. Measures from President Barack Obama's administration included asset freezes and bans on travel to the U.S.
The travel ban on Sechin has so far not affected collaboration with Exxon, which is currently working with Rosneft to drill an exploratory well in the Arctic this year, Tillerson said. The companies' partnership gives Rosneft the ability to buy stakes in Exxon's North American projects in exchange for Exxon's access to the Russian Arctic.
"We have plenty of meetings with them in Russia," Tillerson said. "It's not impacted our ability to carry on the other business activities."
The Irving, Texas-based producer is the biggest U.S. player in Russia, where it has a series of joint ventures with Rosneft.
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GAZPROM - The parties discussed relevant issues related to bilateral cooperation, including the Baltic LNG project. Emphasis was placed on the priority measures aimed at developing a joint design concept (pre-FEED).
BHGE - U.S. Rig Count is up 11 rigs from last week to 1,063, with oil rigs up 8 to 869, gas rigs up 4 to 193, and miscellaneous rigs down 1 to 1. Canada Rig Count is up 13 rigs from last week to 195, with oil rigs up 8 to 127 and gas rigs up 5 to 68.
REUTERS - Brent crude futures had risen $1.02 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $81.28 a barrel by 0637 GMT. The contract dropped 3.4 percent on Thursday following sharp falls in equity markets and indications that supply concerns have been overblown. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 80 cents, or 1.1 percent, at $71.77 a barrel, after a 3 percent fall in the previous session. WTI is on track for a 3.5 percent drop this week.
EIA - Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $79 per barrel (b) in September, up $6/b from August. EIA expects Brent spot prices will average $74/b in 2018 and $75/b in 2019. EIA expects West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices will average about $6/b lower than Brent prices in 2018 and in 2019.