Alexander Novak is being promoted to deputy prime minister and will no longer be Russia’s energy minister, but he is expected to continue being Russia’s key contact in talks with OPEC and the OPEC+ group.  

In a second cabinet reshuffle this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed on Monday several ministers and promoted energy minister Novak to be one of the deputy prime ministers of Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

Mishustin said on Monday he had submitted proposals to the Russian Parliament to approve Novak’s appointment as deputy prime minister, as well as the appointment of Nikolay Shulginov, currently CEO at hydropower company RusHydro, as the new energy minister to replace Novak.

Despite being promoted to deputy prime minister and no longer energy minister, Novak will continue to oversee Russia’s oil policy and will continue to be the key contact for Moscow in discussions and talks with OPEC and its members, industry sources told Reuters.

Novak had been energy minister since 2012, and earlier this year, he continued to be the face of Russia’s energy diplomacy at OPEC+ summits as he remained energy minister in the government that Putin appointed in January.

In the second government reshuffle this year, Putin is now promoting Novak, but Novak is expected to continue to be the top Russian diplomat at OPEC+ meetings, providing stability at times of market turbulence.

Novak told the parliament’s energy committee on Monday that he would work together with Shulginov on Russia’s new energy strategy.

“Novak will remain in charge of OPEC ties, while Shulginov is likely to oversee the power sector,” an industry source told Reuters, noting that the incoming minister doesn’t have the ties and political influence to strike a balance among the Russian oil firms.

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Last week, the top executives of Russia’s oil companies discussed the future of the OPEC+ deal with Novak, including an option to extend the cuts as-is for three months until March 2021, instead of easing the cuts from January as planned, sources with knowledge of the matter told Russian news agency Interfax.   

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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