Exxon escalates dispute with Russia over barred exit from oil project: WSJ

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Exxon Mobil Corp has notified Russian officials it will sue the federal government unless Moscow allows the company to exit a major oil and gas project, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Russia has banned investors from so-called unfriendly countries from selling shares in key energy projects and banks in the nation until the end of the year, stepping up pressure in the sanctions stand-off with the West. 

The ban covers almost all big financial and energy projects where foreign investors still have stakes, including the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project, in which U.S. oil major Exxon holds a 30% stake.

Exxon’s spokesperson Casey Norton confirmed the company had sent the Russian government a notice of difference.

“Exiting is a complex process, and as the operator, we must protect the safety of employees, the environment, and the operation,” Norton said.

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