Novak Keeps Energy Minister Job in New Russian Government

Russia’s energy diplomacy at OPEC+ summits will continue to be represented by Alexander Novak as he kept his place as energy minister in the new government that President Vladimir Putin appointed on Tuesday, EPRussia reports.

Novak, who worked in local and regional governments before he became a minister, has been leading the energy ministry since 2012. He 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.

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.

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