Russia's Energy Minister Cancels Amid Tensions in Ukraine

Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak has canceled his appearance at IHS CERAWeek, as his country invades Ukraine. Novak was slated to speak Tuesday as part of a panel at the annual Houston conference, but pulled out Saturday, the day after Russian troops moved into Crimea, CNBC reports.

A new panel of speakers who are experts on Russia and Ukraine have now been added to the agenda, the organizer confirmed.

"Depending on how this plays out in the next week or two, it will have a big impact on energy security," said IHS Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin in a statement. "Russia will want to maintain its reputation as a credible supplier."

Russian troops entered Crimea Friday, which has a large Russian population and houses a base for the Russian Navy’s Black Sea fleet, seizing control of the area.

"It's very hard to see the end game," Yergin told the news outlet. He said the “situation has not only raised questions about energy supply for Europe, but it raises questions about Syria and Iran, where Russian cooperation is needed.”

As for the markets, oil and natural gas rose amid investor concern that escalating geopolitical tension over Ukraine could curb energy supplies, Bloomberg noted in its Monday briefing.

“Russia controls the gas into Ukraine, which in turn has pipelines into Europe,” said Soeren Bo Duvier Nielsen, a senior energy sales manager at Nordea Bank AB in Singapore, to Bloomberg. “The Europeans are heavily dependent on Russia in terms of gas. They are looking for alternatives but can’t find them easily.”


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