RIYADH: There will be no shift in Saudi Arabia’s Opec policy after the appointment of Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman as the new energy minister, and the top oil exporter will continue with the Opec-led output cut agreement, a Saudi official said yesterday.
Prince Abdulaziz, a son of the king and veteran oil official, was named earlier yesterday as the energy minister, replacing Khalid Al Falih. The appointment marked the first time that a member of Al Saud ruling family has headed the energy portfolio.
“There is no shift in Saudi oil and Opec policy. Prince Abdulaziz will work on strengthening co-operation among Opec and non-Opec,” the official said.
Prince Abdulaziz has served in the energy ministry for over a decade and is the brother of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman who oversees the kingdom’s economic and energy policies, reported Arab News.
“The Saudi oil policy is not expected to change. It is not set by one person. Its principles are well-established,” said Anas Al Hajji, Dallas-based independent oil analyst.
“Changing the energy minister doesn’t change the established oil policy that Prince Abdulaziz himself helped draft...he brings continuity and unmatched institutional experience.”
Another decree named Prince Sultan bin Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud ambassador to Bahrain.
In a third decree, King Salman appointed Osama bin Abdulaziz Al Zamil as deputy minister of the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, replacing Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Ali Al Abdulkarim, who was removed from his post by the same decree.
Al Falih’s relief from the key post follows his removal last week as chairman of Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, a position he held since 2015, said the report.
He was replaced as Saudi Aramco chairman by Yasir Othman Al Rumayyan, who has been the governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) since 2017.
At the end of August, a royal decree split the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources – then headed by Al Falih – into the Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources. Named to head the new ministry was prominent businessman Bandar Al Khorayef, while Al Falih remained as energy secretary.
In a tweet, Al Falih thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “for granting me the opportunity to serve our dear homeland” and wished his successor “all the best in leading this important sector.”