...masky shows (so-called because of the balaclavas the agents often
wear, although this time they reportedly burst in bare-faced.)
Whether the Russians intended to send a signal or not, the episode
seemed to serve notice to Exxon that, when it comes to dealing with the
state-run business world of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, Exxon
isn’t in Texas anymore.
“That incident, I’m sure, made Exxon very uncomfortable the day after
they signed their deal,” Matthew Lasov, director of research at Frontier
Strategy Group, a consultancy for companies operating in the developing
world, said of the raid.
Exxon, though a spokesman, declined to comment.
BP, during its long involvement in Russia, has had so many police
run-ins that its stock price often nudges up or down in response to
raids or the arrests of employees. Russian oil and natural gas accounts
for about a quarter of BP’s output — about the same portion as from the
company’s fields in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.
Until now, Exxon’s involvement in Russia has not been as extensive as
BP’s. But that could change, based on the joint venture deal Exxon
signed Tuesday with the state company Rosneft to explore for oil in the
Russian sector of the Arctic Ocean and in the Black Sea. Rosneft, in
turn, is to gain access to Exxon operations, including oil fields in
Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.