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Putin May Meet With Exxon’s Chief Executive This Week

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin may meet with the chief executive of U.S. oil supermajor ExxonMobil, Darren Woods, on the sidelines of an energy conference in Moscow this week, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, said on Tuesday.

According to the spokesman for the Russian president, the Kremlin hopes that Putin could discuss energy issues with Woods on the sidelines of the forum on Wednesday.

Woods, as well as BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley, are slated to speak at the ‘Russian energy week’ forum on Wednesday in a panel that will also include a speech from OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo.

Ministers from OPEC countries, including Saudi Arabia’s new energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, will also take part in the conference.

Putin plans to meet with OPEC’s Barkindo to discuss the cooperation between Russia and OPEC, including the production cut deal that has been in place since the beginning of 2017, Kremlin’s Peskov said last week, as carried by Russian media.

The Russian president has also planned a short meeting with Exxon’s Woods to discuss prospects of potential projects with Exxon’s participation in Russia, local media reported on Friday.  

Woods and BP’s Dudley will make the trip to Russia after the relations between the West and Moscow began to strain in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and incurred western sanctions on some of its oil companies and on buying western equipment for developing projects in the Arctic, for example.

Following the U.S. sanctions on Russia, Exxon withdrew from most of its joint oil and gas exploration activities with Russia’s state-controlled oil giant Rosneft, giving in to the pressure of U.S. and EU sanctions against Russia’s energy industry. The decision, Exxon said in 2018, was made in 2017, after Washington imposed additional sanctions on Russia for its alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential elections.  

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BP, for its part, owns 19.75 percent in Rosneft and nominates two representatives to Rosneft’s Board of Directors: CEO Dudley and Guillermo Quintero, former BP President for Latin America.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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