Saturday, May 7, 2016

BREAKING Saudi Arabia's Powerful Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi Fired By Royal Decree

This is big and could lead to very volatile oil markets in the near term. The key, of course, is whether this will lead to any change in Saudi philosophy toward the oil price, which is currently one of full pumping and a lower price to crush marginal producers in the United States and elsewhere,

It is unlikely that the announcement was made over the weekend by accident, it will provide traders in the oil market a little time to digest the news.

 al-Naimi was a major advocate of the low price philosophy.

This is a breaking story. Return to this post for updates.


Ali Al-Naimi, who has held the position since 1995, will be replaced by Khalid Al-Falih, chairman of state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco, the state-owned broadcaster said. The ministry will be renamed the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Wealth.


Al-Falih is well respected in the industry.

It was recently announced that he was named 2016 Energy Intelligence Petroleum Executive of the Year. An award that is handed out annually at the Annual Oil & Money Conference in London.

Al-Falih holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM). He was chair of the World Economic Forum Oil & Gas Community and served on many boards, including KFUPM International Advisory Board; J.P. Morgan International Council; Asia Business Council; International Business Council of the World Economic Forum; MIT Presidential CEO Advisory Board; Royal Academy of Engineering (Fellow); and Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University Board of Trustees. He is currently serving on the board of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (founding member) and on the American University of Sharjah Board of Trustees.


Sources tell me that the appointment of Al-Falih will make Saudi Arabia more hardline in their refusal to move in favor of a cap on oil production.

I'm told that the real driver behind the change in oil ministers was Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the favorite son of King Salman, and  who was a key influence in last month's nixing of a cap deal with other energy producers because Iran would not go along.

After calling him unpredictable, FT noted in April:
Under his [ Al-Falih's]guidance, Saudi Arabia’s oil policy appears to be less driven by the price of crude than global politics, particularly Riyadh’s bitter rivalry with post-sanctions Tehran. Oil, analysts say, has become a weapon for Saudi Arabia to wield in its proxy war with Iran.

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