Former Saudi Arabia Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi. Image courtesy of Paradoxicalengineer/Wikimedia Commons.

Saudi Arabia’s long serving oil minister has been replaced by the current chairman of Saudi Aramco.

According to Bloomberg, current Saudi Aramco chairman Khalid Al-Falih will replace Ali Al-Naimi, who has served as the kingdom’s oil minister for just over 20 years.

Al-Falih will give up his current post as the minister of health, according to Reuters.

Al-Naimi, 80, previously served as Saudi Aramco chairman before being appointed to the oil minister post in 1995.

Saudi Arabia met with other OPEC members last month to discuss a potential production freeze deal.

However, those talks failed after Iran refused to sign onto any production pact.

Al-Falih has given no indication that he will alter Saudi Arabia’s current production policy.

According to Platts, Saudi Arabia maintained output at 10.2 million barrels per day for the third straight month in March.

The kingdom’s Petroleum Ministry has been renamed the the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources and the Ministry of Electricity has been folded into the kingdom’s energy portfolio, Reuters said.

In the latest edition of the Arabian Sun, a publication published by Saudi Aramco, president and CEO Amin Nasser said the company remains “committed  to maintaining  the Kingdom’s position  as the world’s  top oil exporter and most reliable supplier  of energy, while continuing to make strategic investments across the hydrocarbons value chain that will elevate the Kingdom as the global hub for energy.”

The appointment comes as kingdom prepares to undertake various economic reforms designed to help to reduce its dependence on energy revenues.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is leading the reform charge, recently said he hopes that Saudi Arabia will be able to survive without oil revenues by 2020, the Wall Street Journal said.

Saudi Aramco confirmed in January that it was studying a potential initial public offering that would call for the government to retain a majority stake in the firm.

Saudi Aramco said it has begun studying “various options to allow broad public participation in its equity” in either the company as a whole or a bundle of its downstream subsidiaries.

Saudi Aramco did not provide details about the potential size of the offering other than saying it would list an “appropriate percentage of the company’s shares and/or the listing of a bundle its downstream subsidiaries.”

Late last month, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed said Saudi Aramco could be worth more than $2 trillion.


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