(Photo: REUTERS / RIA Novosti)
Russian Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin (R) and Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin attend a meeting on the gas industry in Kirishi, a town near St. Petersburg in Leningrad Region, March 23, 2012. Putin ordered state gas monopoly Gazprom to operate more efficiently, and break free of its pipeline gas business to take a share of the LNG market.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has recommended Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin for a seat on the board of the state oil and gas holding company while announcing that Sechin will leave the Cabinet Sunday.
Sechin is expected to join the board of Rosneftegaz, which is seen as a move by Putin to maintain firm control over Russia's vital energy industry, the country's largest source of revenue.
Sechin is considered a close ally of Putin and served under him as deputy chief of Putin's presidential administration from 2000 to 2008. Under former President Dmitry Medvedev, he served as deputy prime minister, which was viewed as a demotion.
Putin and Medvedev officially swapped roles Monday, returning Putin for his third term as president, and Medvedev stepping aside to a role as prime minister.
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Sechin has been pivotal over the years in developing Rosneft, the company with which Rosneftegaz maintains the Russian government's controlling stake, into an international energy player. Recently, he presided over deals with Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), Italy's Eni SpA (NYSE: E) and Norway's Statoil ASA (NYSE: STO) to explore an offshore drilling zone in the Arctic Ocean, Reuters reported.
He also administered tax adjustments to infuse the company with much-needed capital to develop new oil and gas fields and manage output declines among Soviet-era ones.
Sechin had previously held a seat on Rosneftegaz's board, but left last August after Medvedev ordered government officials to leave the boards of state companies which they regulate, Reuters reported.
The deputy minister is expected to continue securing energy deals for the company in his new post.
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