It was a moment of triumph for the chief executive officer of ExxonMobil. Almost a decade into the job, Rex Tillerson learned in September 2014 that the costliest well in the company’s history had struck oil a mile beneath the icy seas off the Siberian coast. It was what the industry likes to call an elephant—as much as a billion barrels, then worth about $97 billion. Exxon’s Russian partner, Rosneft, estimated the ocean floor around the $700 million well could hold more crude than the entire Gulf of Mexico. Tillerson had bet big on Russia, and it looked like he’d finally silence concerns that Exxon’s crude output had plummeted for most of his tenure.

Yet no sooner had the company made the energy industry’s most promising find in 45 years than Exxon was packing up the drilling rig and going home. The short-lived victory had been snatched away by economic sanctions imposed in response to Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s support of Ukrainian rebels.

Bloomberg – 04-09-2015