“We don’t take sides in any geopolitical events,” Tillerson said of the conflict in Ukraine in a meeting with reporters a year ago. “We have navigated these kinds of challenges before.”

The company’s fourth-quarter output tumbled to a 15-year low, and its shares lost 8.7 percent of their value in 2014, the steepest annual decline since 2009.

The U.S. oil explorer’s willingness to expand in Russia when western governments are working to isolate President Putin’s regime may indicate it expects sanctions to be short-lived, said Timothy Ash, chief economist for emerging markets at Standard Bank Plc in London.

Tillerson aligning with Russia over Ukraine – 20-03-2015