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Alexander Novak Keeps Energy Minister Job In New Russian Cabinet

Alexander Novak will continue to be the face of Russia’s energy diplomacy at OPEC+ summits as he remains Russia’s Energy Minister in the new government that President Vladimir Putin appointed on Tuesday.  

Novak, who has been leading the energy ministry since 2012, has been a key figure in the talks between OPEC and its leader and largest producer, Saudi Arabia, and the Russia-led alliance of non-OPEC producers in cutting deals to reduce oil production in recent years.

A week ago, the Russian government, including Energy Minister Alexander Novak, resigned in an unexpected move after Putin said that he would be looking to make amendments to the Russian constitution. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev tendered the resignation of his whole government last week to allow the president room to prepare for the discussion of the constitutional amendments, the outgoing prime minister said at a meeting of the cabinet with Putin.

After a week of speculation and uncertainty about who will hold which posts, including that of the energy minister, Putin signed the executive order to appoint the new government. Several key ministers, including Novak and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, will keep their posts.

Novak was widely expected to keep his job as energy minister in the government reshuffle.

“Putin believes the OPEC+ deal is positive for the Russian economy and Novak can count on retaining his position in the Russian political system,” said an analyst from the Russian National Energy Security Fund. “As a minimum, he would remain Energy Minister,” Igor Yushkov added, referring to Novak.

This should give assurances to OPEC and the market that Putin’s energy representative at the upcoming meeting of the OPEC+ coalition in March is the same familiar face.

Russia’s position regarding the fate of the deeper production cuts in place until the end of March will be much less familiar, as Novak is known for keeping it ‘a secret’ until the day of the meeting.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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