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Exxon’s ‘Bromance’ With The Kremlin

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 23.56.16Extracts from a Forbes article by Christopher Helman published on 20 March 2014 under the headline:Will Exxon’s ‘Bromance’ With The Kremlin Help Keep Putin In Check?

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson has a good relationship with Vladimir Putin. If you do a Google image search for the two men, you’ll see a dozen shots of them together, looking in each others’ eyes, smiling, laughing, shaking hands. They have a lot in common. Both men run autocratic, secretive, oil-based, global operations. And they like each other enough that they’ve joined forces in perhaps the biggest joint venture in the global oil industry. Exxon’s landmark 2011 joint venture with Kremlin-controlled Rosneft calls for upwards of $500 billion in investment over the coming decades. The companies are planning an offshore drilling campaign in Russia’s frozen Chukchi Sea…

No other international oil company has anywhere close to this kind of relationship with the Kremlin. On the contrary, some oil giants have been bruised and battered by the Kremlin: In 2006 an irate Putin cut Royal Dutch Shell’s stake in the Sakhalin-2 project cut in half and handed control to Gazprom after costs doubled to $22 billion. Shell did sign a tentative “strategic alliance” with Rosneft in 2007, but it proved to be all show and no go. Shell does have a modest exploratory drilling program with Gazprom.

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