Vladimir Putin appoints new members of the government responsible for oil and gas regulation

On 18 May 2018 Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a decree approving new structure and composition of the Government of the Russian Federation. The new government structure was proposed to the president by Dmitry Medvedev who was re-appointed as a Prime Minister on 8 May.

There were several changes to the Russian Government composition that affect Energy and Oil and Gas sectors.

Kozak

Dmitriy Kozak, Deputy Prime Minister. Image credit: Government of Russia

Dmitriy Kozak was appointed Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Energy and Industry sectors. During the last four years, this position was held by Arcady Dvorkovich – a close ally of Mr Medvedev – who was not invited to join the new government. According to the Russian press, Mr Dvorkovich will get a position of Director of Skolkovo Innovation Centre, a Russian venture capital and research foundation established by Dmitriy Medvedev. Mr Kozak has been working as a deputy prime minister since 2008, his last assignment was not related to energy but to the development of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Novak

Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy. Image credit: Government of Russia

Alexander Novak was re-appointed as the Minister of Energy of Russia. According to “Kommersant” business newspaper, Mr Novak gained credibility due to effective participation of Russia in the OPEC+ deal, which allowed to increase global oil prices and thus helped to balance Russian state budget. Other achievements of Mr Novak are successful negotiations with Ukraine on energy supply to the Crimea peninsula, as well as his participation in talks with the European Commission on payments for the Russian natural gas supplied to Ukraine. Even though many Russian oil and gas companies were not particularly happy with the Ministry of Energy policy, Mr Novak was able to avoid serious conflicts with other members of the ruling elite, including influential heads of Russian oil and gas majors, such as Rosneft and Gazprom. His new supervisor will be Mr Kozak, who, according to the Russian press, has good work relations with Alexander Novak.

Kobylkin

Dmitry Kobylkin,  Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology. Image credit: Government of Russia

Dmitry Kobylkin, ex-governor of Yamalo-Nenets autonomous district, was appointed new Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology. He became one of three governors who got positions in the new government. Holding a degree in geophysics, Mr Kobylkin made his career in Russian oil and gas industry before moving to the public sector in 2002. In 2010 he was appointed the governor of Yamalo-Nenets autonomous district and re-elected to this position in 2015. Yamalo-Nenets autonomous district is a region holding vast amounts of hydrocarbons, first of all, natural gas. According to the government of the district, its current proven hydrocarbon reserves consist of 44.5 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, 5 billion metric tonnes of oil and around 2 billion tonnes of gas condensate. Apart from this, the region may hold similar amount of prospective reserves, including 35 trillion cubic meters of gas and 8 billion tonnes of liquid hydrocarbons. For this reason, we do not doubt Mr Kobylkin’s knowledge and expertise in the country’s oil and gas industry regulation.

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