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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Another Kremlin Man Heading for Gazprom

VedomostiPresidential aide Igor Shuvalov
The Kremlin, seeking to strengthen its hold on gas monopoly Gazprom, has put forward a presidential adviser as a new board member, the third such post to go to an aide of President Vladimir Putin, Vedomosti said Tuesday.

Quoting government sources, the newspaper said the Kremlin had put forward presidential aide Igor Shuvalov to join the board of the sprawling state-controlled Gazprom.

His candidacy is likely to be approved at Gazprom's annual meeting on Friday, it said.

Gazprom's 11-member board is chaired by Putin's chief of staff, Dmitry Medvedev, and includes presidential energy envoy Igor Yusufov, former property ministry head Farid Gazizulin, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref, Federal Energy Agency chief Sergei Oganesyan, Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko and chief executive Alexei Miller.

Independent board members include Burckhard Bergmann, chief executive of German power utility E.ON's gas importing arm E.ON-Ruhrgas, which owns more than 6 percent of Gazprom.

Another independent board member is ex-Finance Minister Boris Fyodorov, whose United Financial Group controls a 3.8 percent stake in Gazprom.

Vedomosti said Gazprom had proposed the candidacy of Mattias Varnik, chairman of the governing committee of investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein in Russia and the former Soviet republics, as a new independent board member.

"Gazprom's decision to nominate an independent candidate from DKW is of particular interest, as it seems likely to split the independent vote," Alfa Bank analysts said.

They said Fyodorov might lose his board seat as a result.

Also challenging Fyodorov are independent candidates Vadim Kleiner of Hermitage Capital Management and Sergei Glaser of fund firm Vostok Nafta.

Gazprom, the world's largest natural gas producer, which supplies a quarter of Europe's needs, will become an energy giant when it takes over state oil firm Rosneft this year.

But Rosneft's unexpected purchase of oil major Yukos' key unit, Yuganskneftegaz, has thrown a wrench in the works of its merger with Gazprom.

Gazprom was not available for comment on the Vedomosti report.

The state has reasserted its hold over the energy sector with the renationalization of Yugansk in December, dismembering Yukos, once Russia's most profitable oil company.