Exxon reserves judgment on drilling in Russian Arctic

|About: Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM)|By:, SA News Editor

Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) has been unflinching in its plan to drill for oil in the Russian Arctic, in spite of the rising tensions between the West and Russia, but comments after it reported Q2 earnings today seemed rather wobbly.

With XOM and Rosneft (OTC:RNFTF) set to drill the first well in the Kara Sea next month, XOM head of investor relations David Rosenthal said during the earnings call that it "wouldn't be appropriate" to comment until sanctions are assessed further; when asked directly if the company is still planning to begin drilling the first Kara well next month, he wouldn’t say.

With Q2 oil and natural gas output slipping 5.7% to 3.84M boe/day, the company's lowest since Q3 2009, XOM needs new production avenues.

Meanwhile, Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) CEO Ben van Beurden said today it is monitoring the situation in Russia but that the company is keeping Arctic drilling on the table - in the U.S., marking a shift from his previous suggestions that Shell’s Arctic ambitions might not mesh with the company’s bid to prove its fiscal restraint.