(Adds details on sanctions, Russian assets)
By Ernest Scheyder
NEW YORK May 1 Exxon Mobil Corp. said
on Thursday that expansion projects planned in Russia for this
year are proceeding normally, even amidst recent sanctions
imposed against the country for its involvement in Ukraine.
Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded energy
company, plans to comply with all sanctions the United States
and European Union have imposed against Russia, David Rosenthal,
the U.S. company's head of investor relations, said on a
conference call with investors and analysts.
Those sanctions led Russian President Vladimir Putin to muse
on Tuesday whether he should reconsider the participation of
Western companies, including oil and natural gas producers, in
Yet so far work on projects, including some of the most
complex oil exploration endeavors in the world, is "underway and
proceeding as planned," Rosenthal said.
The comments came a day after Royal Dutch Shell
said it would not pursue new Russian projects in the near future
due to the Ukrainian situation.
Exxon is the most deeply involved in Russia of the U.S.
With Kremlin-controlled Rosneft, along with
Japanese and Indian partners, Exxon is the operator of
Sakhalin-1, a massive oil field off Russia's eastern coast and
one of three Russian production-sharing deals with foreign
Many energy and geopolitical risk analysts don't think Putin
would confiscate the assets of foreign energy companies inside
Russia, pointing to the harm caused to the Venezuelan, Argentine
and Iranian economies when those countries expropriated oil or
natural gas fields in the past.
"I'd be surprised if controlling half of the Ukraine was
worth more than long-established relationships with Western
energy companies," said Victoria Brudenell of the Salamanca
Group risk consultancy in London.
Exxon held 85,000 acres in Sakhalin at the end of 2013, all
offshore, and also held about 11.3 million acres in separate
Rosneft joint venture agreements for fields in the Kara Sea,
part of the Arctic Ocean, and the Black Sea.
Rosneft and Exxon also have a joint venture to evaluate the
development of tight-oil reserves in western Siberia, and are
building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Russia's eastern
The plant, which Exxon executives have repeatedly said will
not be deterred by the Ukrainian political situation, is
expected to be online by 2019.
In the United States, Rosneft unit Neftegaz in March 2013
bought a 30 percent stake in 20 deepwater exploration blocks
held by Exxon in the Gulf of Mexico.
(Additional reporting by Terry Wade in Houston; Editing by