Yesterday, the U.S. Treasury issued increased sanctions against Russia. These newest sanctions target three banks: Bank of Moscow, Russian Agricultural Bank, and VTB Bank OAO. Additionally, the European Union will issue additional sanctions this week that will cut off financing, stop the exporting of some goods, and halt the export of specific military technologies.
While the sanctions may not seem immediately harsh or shocking — as they quite carefully avoid striking into Russia's gas sector — they do put the oil sector in a predicament. Because certain technologies can no longer be exported, offshore and deep sea drilling will be affected. This specifically targets the state-owned oil giant Rosneft, which is currently engaged in an oil deal with ExxonMobil in the Arctic Sea, that could potentially generate 9 billion barrels.
Still, Rosneft officials seem surprising calm and collected in the face of these sanctions. Their leader, CEO Igor Sechin, was already personally sanctioned, though this did not affect Rosneft's ability to do business in the United States. Yet Rosneft's chairman of the board Alexander Nekipelov has told the press he believes business will continue as usual with ExxonMobil. Exxon is the crown jewel of oil in the U.S., and has had close ties with Kremlin in the past. (That's CEO Rex Tillerson, pictured above with Sechin and Vladimir Putin in 2012.)