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The Trump administration denies ExxonMobil's request for a sanction waiver to drill in Russia

The Trump administration has denied ExxonMobil's request for a waiver from U.S. sanctions to work with Russia, The Wall Street Journal reports. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who formerly served as Exxon's CEO, recused himself from the deliberations; the announcement was made by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The Wall Street Journal noted earlier this week that it is not clear whether Exxon applied for the waiver before or after Tillerson was confirmed as President Trump's secretary of state. Tillerson struck a deal with Russian oil company Rosneft in 2012 to drill in Russia's portion of the Black Sea, but the agreement was hampered by sanctions slapped on Russia in 2014 in response to the annexation of Crimea. Exxon is reportedly worried that if it isn't proactive, it "could get boxed out of the Black Sea," which may hold billions of barrels of oil.