Blumenthal joins letter to enforce U.S. sanctions against Russian oil conglomerate

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) (WTNH)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTNH) — Concerns have been raised regarding a transaction by Rosneft, a Russian oil producer with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, that could allow the company to take control of Citgo, a U.S. oil company.

In response, senators on both sides of the aisle are calling on the Trump Administration to enforce existing sanctions on oil company transactions.

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal joined a letter led by Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., regarding these concerns. Senators Marco Rubio, R-Fla, John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Ted Cruz R-Texas, also joined the letter.

The senators explain in the letter, “A leading U.S. energy company, Citgo, operates across 19 states, with 48 terminals, interstate oil and gas pipelines, and refineries. Serious questions have been raised regarding the national security risk of Rosneft – a company with close ties to President Putin – assuming control of U.S. energy infrastructure.”

Rosneft is currently under U.S. sanctions after Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Ukraine.

See Related: US Treasury rejects Exxon Mobil request to drill in Russia 

The letter states, “The Treasury Department must immediately determine the likelihood of Rosneft acquiring a controlling stake in Citgo. Reports suggest that a license could be required for Citgo to continue orderly operations should Rosneft take control. If that is the case, it would appear that, barring the license, the transaction would necessarily result in one or more sanctions violations.”

Rosneft’s Executive Chairman, Igor Sechin, has been sanctioned as well and is reportedly a close ally of President Putin.

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