Over the previous few days Western oil giants Shell and BP decided to divest themselves of the massive financial investments they’ve long held in Russian major oil companies, even though they’ll both take major losses as a result. We pointed out that soulless oil giants don’t want to make these kinds of moves, and wouldn’t merely be doing this for PR reasons; they’re doing it because they expect major oil Russian companies like Rosneft and Gazprom to become (and remain) completely worthless.
Now, as of last night, ExxonMobil has also announced that it’s pulling the plug on its major Russian oil investments. Keep in mind that ExxonMobil has long been so deeply in bed with Russia, its CEO Rex Tillerson was once awarded the Russian Order of Friendship by Vladimir Putin (though in fairness Tillerson did turn against Putin a few years ago, to the chagrin of Donald Trump).
The upshot here is that the world’s largest oil conglomerates are now betting heavily on the Russian economy being comatose for as long as any timeframe they might care to think about. And they’re making the kinds of exit moves that can’t just easily be undone later.
It’s time for the Russian oligarchs to start counting up just how much money they’re losing, and start thinking about how best to take Putin down from within. Even from the standpoint of their own selfish self-interest, it’s well past time for Putin to go, and they know it.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report