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Photo: David McNew / Getty Images

ExxonMobil disclosed in a filing yesterday that it's abandoning joint ventures with Russian state oil giant Rosneft to drill in Arctic waters, Siberia and the Black Sea as a result of U.S. and European Union sanctions against the Russian firm.

  • Exxon said the decision led to an after-tax loss of $200 million.

Why it matters: "The move is an about-face for Exxon, which had opposed the sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Crimea and argued they unfairly penalized U.S. companies while allowing foreign energy rivals to operate in the country, the world’s largest oil producer," Reuters notes.

  • Yes, but: "With its investments already frozen by the sanctions, it was not clear what current activities, if any, Exxon’s move affected," The New York Times reports.
  • The move to scuttle joint ventures formed several years ago does not end Exxon's longstanding Sakhalin project off Russia's east coast, according to multiple reports.

One level deeper: Samuel Lussac, an analyst with Wood Mackenzie, said in a short note Thursday that the move is no surprise at a time of rising sanctions pressure. But it's a blow to Rosneft.

  • "Rosneft loses a partner of choice, which could have brought financing and expertise for the development of the next wave of Russian oil supply," Lussac writes.

Go deeper

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.

7 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.