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Novak to skip OPEC seminar, return to Vienna Saturday for OPEC/non-OPEC talks

Vienna — Russian energy minister Alexander Novak, a key player in deciding thefuture of the OPEC/non-OPEC production cut agreement, will not attend OPEC'spre-meeting seminar this week, where he had been scheduled to speak, aministry spokeswoman said Tuesday.

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He will arrive in Vienna for talks on Thursday, but will not be in townwhen OPEC holds its ministerial meeting Friday, though he will returnSaturday, when OPEC is scheduled to meet with its non-OPEC allies, accordingto spokeswoman Olga Golant.

"He will not attend the seminar because [President Vladimir Putin] hascalled a meeting," Golant told S&P Global Platts. "He will be in Vienna June21 and 23."

The seminar, a two-day conference featuring ministers, oil major CEOs andother officials, is Wednesday and Thursday, and serves as a venue forbilateral and multilateral talks.

Novak had been on the program as a keynote speaker Wednesday morning fora session titled "Sustainable Global Energy Future," along with Saudicounterpart Khalid al-Falih and other ministers.

Russia and Saudi Arabia, two of the world's top three largest oilproducers, have held a series of meetings in recent weeks, including betweenPutin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the World Cup opener lastThursday. Falih met with Novak in Saudi Arabia this past weekend.

The countries appear aligned in a desire to ease production quotas underthe 1.8 million b/d OPEC/non-OPEC supply cut agreement, but are facingvehement objection from Iran, Iraq and Venezuela.

Ecuador's oil minister, Carlos Perez, told reporters in Vienna on Mondaythat Saudi Arabia and Russia had presented a proposal for the coalition tolift its collective quotas by 1.5 million b/d.

--Herman Wang, herman.wang@spglobal.com

--Staff, newsdesk@spglobal.com

--Edited by Irene Tang, newsdesk@spglobal.com