News Release

Tillerson Present as Exxon Signed Deal with Saudi Arabia During Trump Visit

newsrelease6STEVE HORN, steve at desmogblog.com, @SteveAHorn
Horn is an investigative journalist and writer for DeSmogBlog.com. He just wrote the piece “Tillerson Present as Exxon Signed Major Deal with Saudi Arabia During Trump Visit,” which states: “While the $350 billion, 10-year arms deal garnered most headlines, a lesser-noticed agreement was also signed between ExxonMobil and the state-owned Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) to study a proposed co-owned natural gas refinery in the Gulf of Mexico. Under the deal, signed at the Saudi-U.S. CEO Forum, the two companies would ‘conduct a detailed study of the proposed Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project in Texas and begin planning for front-end engineering and design work’ for the 1,300-acre, $10 billion plant set to be located near Corpus Christi, Texas, according to an ExxonMobil press release.

“In addition, ExxonMobil’s press release for the agreement mentions that Darren Woods, the company’s CEO, was in the room for the signing of the pact alongside ExxonMobil Saudi Arabia CEO Philippe Ducom and SABIC executives. Missing from that release: After the forum ended, Woods went to the Al-Yamamah Palace for an agreement-signing ceremony attended by both President Trump and recently retired ExxonMobil CEO and current U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

“DeSmog discovered they were all present at the palace via the Saudi Press Agency’s English-language press Twitter account, which released a series of photos of Woods and Tillerson shaking hands with SABIC CEO Yousef Al-Benyan and Saudi Defense Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman, respectively. …

“Tillerson served as CEO of ExxonMobil for 10 years, heading the ‘private empire’ until President Trump nominated him as U.S. Secretary of State in December 2016. At his January Senate confirmation hearing, Tillerson said he would recuse himself for one year from ExxonMobil-related business which comes before the State Department, and submitted a letter to the same effect on January 3 to the State Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.”