(Adds Chevron no comment; Exxon, BP ties to Russia)
MINSK, April 29 Russian President Vladimir Putin
said on Tuesday that Moscow saw no need for counter sanctions
against the West, but could reconsider the participation of
Western companies in its economy, including energy projects.
"We would very much wish not to resort to any measures in
response. I hope we won't get to that point," he told reporters
after meeting with the leaders of Belarus and Kazakhstan.
"But if something like that continues, we will of course
have to think about who is working in the key sectors of the
Russian economy, including the energy sector, and how."
The United States on Monday unveiled a new round of
sanctions aimed at business leaders and companies close to
Putin, while the European Union followed up on Tuesday by naming
15 Russians and Ukrainians to its blacklist, moving to freeze
assets and deny visas.
"Regarding the second package, it's not clear at all what
this is linked to, because there is no cause and effect link
with what is happening now in Ukraine and Russia," he said.
Though some Western oil companies left Russia in recent
years because of a difficult business climate, U.S. companies
Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp, along with British
major BP, have significant ties there.
Igor Sechin, the head of state-controlled Rosneft,
was named in the latest U.S. sanctions, though not his company,
in which BP holds an 18.5 percent stake.
In Russia, Exxon Mobil's net acreage holdings in Sakhalin at
the end of 2013 totaled 85,000 acres, all offshore, and its net
acreage in the Rosneft joint venture agreements for the Kara and
Black Seas was 11.3 million acres. The two companies also have a
joint venture to evaluate the development of tight-oil reserves
in western Siberia.
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 U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
Exxon Mobil declined to comment on Putin's latest comments
Meanwhile, Chevron Corp owns a 15 percent stake in
the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which transports crude oil from
Kazakhstan through Russia to the Black Sea. The company also
sells lubricants in Russia used in engines for ships and
Chevron declined to comment on Putin's latest statements,
but said it was monitoring the region closely.
Putin reiterated his accusations that the United States was
orchestrating the Ukraine crisis and urged Kiev and pro-Russia
protesters to respect the Geneva agreements, reached on April 17
and intended to defuse the crisis, and sit down at the
The United States and European Union accuse Moscow of
orchestrating an uprising of pro-Russian separatists in
southeastern Ukraine. The crisis has brought relations between
the West and Russia to their lowest since the end of the Cold
(Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya, Anna Driver and Ernest
Scheyder; Writing by Alexei Anishchuk; editing by G Crosse,
Nigel Stephenson and Terry Wade)