AP: Exxon Mobil seeking feds’ OK to restart huge Russian oil venture around Black Sea (Source cbsnews.com) Exxon Mobil is seeking permission from the U.S. government for approval to resume drilling around the Black Sea with a Russian partner, state-owned Rosneft, according to a person familiar with the matter. The oil giant’s request is being reviewed by the Trump administration and is certain to draw extra scrutiny because it involves a company formerly run by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who cultivated close ties with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. The drilling venture was blocked when the U.S. imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014. Exxon applied to the Treasury Department for a waiver from the sanctions in 2015, during the Obama administration, according to the person, who spoke anonymously because the application process is confidential. Exxon has publicly disclosed licenses for other work in Russia that required waivers. An Exxon spokesman said the company declined to comment on ongoing issues. The Treasury Department, which would handle Exxon’s application to drill around the Black Sea, did not respond to a request for comment. A State Department spokesman said Tillerson has HYPERLINK “http://www.cbsnews.com/news/rex-tillerson-international-conflicts-complicate-exxon-ceos-secretary-of-state-nomination/” \t “_blank” recused himself from any matters involving Exxon for two years and is not involved with any decision involving the company before any government agency. Tillerson HYPERLINK “http://www.cbsnews.com/news/rex-tillersons-180-million-severance-package/” \t “_blank” retired as Exxon CEO at the end of last year. He has known Putin for about two decades – the Russian president awarded Tillerson a special honor in 2013.