Oil giants lobby is against the law to toughen anti-Russian sanctions

Exxon Mobil and other energy companies joined the President to Donald Trump and expressed concern about the bill on toughening sanctions against Russia, saying it could lead to the closure of oil and gas projects involving Russian partners.

Opposition from energy companies such as Exxon and Chevron, as well as from other industries could complicate passage in the house of representatives of the new law, whose purpose in part is to punish Russia for its intervention, which it is, according to American officials, carried out in last year’s elections in the United States. Last month the law easily and quickly passed the approval process in the Senate, when it voted by a bipartisan majority in the ratio of 98 votes in favor and two against.

Position Exxon also creates a political problem for the administration of the tramp, who tries to avoid questions about conflict of interest relating to the Secretary of state Tillerson Rex, before working as the head of the oil giant.

Tillerson, who promised to distance themselves from any cases dealing with Exxon until he spoke openly against the law on sanctions, but last month urged Congress not to take any action that binds the hands of the administration.

Trump needs to hold a personal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week at the summit of “Big twenty” in Hamburg. This will be the first meeting since his election to the presidency. The white house did not rule out that trump will impose a presidential veto on the bill on sanctions, which is a situation that complicates the President’s actions to mitigate the existing sanctions against the Kremlin. The administration explains that the law would weaken the ability of trump to conduct diplomatic activities.

Special U.S. attorney and Congress are investigating the actions of Russia on the implementation of the cyber attacks during the election, trying to figure out whether there was inappropriate contact between the aides of trump and the Russian government. The President denies any illegal actions.

As the chief diplomat of the country, Tillerson said that Russia must be held accountable. A senior official from the state Department said on Monday that “the Secretary of state Tillerson from Exxon has gone before to hold office in the state Department”. He added: “In General, sanctions against Russia are associated with a wide range of issues, including with the invasion of the Ukraine, and they koordiniruyutsya with our allies.”

The lobbyists for Exxon and other players from the oil industry expressed their dissatisfaction with the legislators about some of the provisions of the bill, including a blanket prohibition on partnerships with Russian individuals and legal entities under the sanctions, as well as a review by Congress of certain easing of sanctions. The company was also concerned saying that the new law may force them to disclose information which they consider to be a corporate trade secret.

The representative of Exxon Alan Jeffers (Jeffers Alan) stated that his company takes no position on the issue of sanctions, however, informed the lawmakers about how the new law would put American companies at a disadvantage in comparison with foreign firms. The representative of Chevron, declined to comment.

Lobbying actions of Exxon and other major oil companies aimed at preserving the business relations with Russia during the period when Washington’s relations with Moscow sank to a record low.

The bill threatens to destroy all American business partnerships involving Russian partners. This is worrisome not only from energy companies but also the banking and industrial companies, say people familiar with this issue. General Electric is closely monitoring the bill, concerned that it will put American corporations at a disadvantage relative to foreign businesses.

“This will have far-reaching implications for a variety of companies and industries, — said the General Director of the American petroleum Institute Jack Gerard (Jack Gerard). It can harm the interests of the United States and be beneficial to Russia”.

The bill faces an uncertain future in the house of representatives, because some Republicans, including Pete and Roman sessions (Pete Sessions) from Texas, opposed against him. Some analysts say that the confrontation was entirely avoidable.

Leon Panetta (Leon Panetta), who served as White House chief of staff under President Clinton and under Obama who worked as a member of the Cabinet, said that Congress and the administration trump should agree on what sanctions should be introduced.

“If we talk about the policy of sanctions, the best course for our country is that Congress and the President are bound by the same positions, Panetta said. — If you have the impression that between the President and Congress there is a dispute, it would have a terrible signal to our enemies and our allies.”

For Exxon the stakes are especially high. The new law could further break her already fragile partnership with Russian oil giant Rosneft, which remained largely intact, despite sanctions imposed by the United States in 2014 in connection with the Russian annexation of the Crimea. Previously, the oil company sought the release of the sanctions, but the administration trump in April rejected her request.

Exxon continues the joint project with “Rosneft” near the Russian island of Sakhalin in the far East, which was begun even before the imposition of sanctions. Since 2005, this project produced more than 650 million barrels of oil, and is one of the largest foreign investments in Russia.

In its current form, the bill could prevent the implementation of the two performed outside of Russia of the Exxon projects, the share in which belongs “Rosneft”, said informed sources. One of them is the development and extraction method of hydraulic fracturing in the Permian basin of new Mexico. The second is associated with the search for oil in the canadian province of Alberta.

Prohibition on partnership with Russia will strike a powerful blow to the expansion of Rosneft outside the country. 20% of the company owned by British oil giant BP, and in March “Rosneft” has signed the agreement on global cooperation with Italian energy firm Eni. Rosneft owns a stake in a major gas field Eni off the coast of Egypt.

Some members of the U.S. house of representatives shares the concerns of the Exxon and across the industry, believing that the new law may lead to the disclosure of confidential information. Representing the Dallas area sessions said he wants to amend those provisions which can put American firms at a disadvantage from the point of view of competition.

According to Senses, he “represents companies from the energy sector, who do not want to lose those deals.”