Energy Department to send adviser to Saudi Arabia amid oil tensions

Energy Department to send adviser to Saudi Arabia amid oil tensions
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A senior adviser to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette will be reassigned to Saudi Arabia as the country’s increased oil production is contributing to decreasing prices in the U.S.

An Energy Department official confirmed to The Hill that Victoria Coates will be based in Saudi Arabia to make sure that the department has additional presence in the region. 

The official added that Coates’s new assignment had been in the works for some time and that it is unknown when she will start. 

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Reuters first reported that Coates would be appointed as special energy representative to Saudi Arabia. 

Brouillette recently told Bloomberg TV that the idea for Saudi Arabia to leave OPEC and form an alliance with the U.S. has been floated. 

“There are many, many ideas that are floated around the policy space. That is one of them. I don’t know that that’s going to be presented in any formal way,” he said. 

U.S. oil prices have plunged in recent weeks amid decreased demand due to the coronavirus and an increase in Saudi output following a dispute with Russia. 

Coates recently joined the Energy Department after service as President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE’s deputy national security adviser. 

The White House said in February that plans for her to join the Energy Department had been ongoing “for several weeks” and rejected rumors that Coates is the anonymous person who wrote a New York Times op-ed and subsequent book critical of President Trump.