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Saudi Arabia appoints new Energy Minister amid low oil prices

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has appointed his son, Abdul Aziz bin Salman, as the new energy minister, on Sunday, state media said, in a major shakeup as the OPEC overlord reels from low oil prices.

The appointment of Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman as the new Energy Minister of Saudi Arabia marks the first time of Saudi prince heading an all-important ministry.

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman has replaced the veteran, Khalid Al Falih as the new Energy Minister of Saudi Arabia. Khalid Al Fatih was also the chairperson of Saudi Oil giant, Aramco. It was widely speculated that top officials were displeased with Falih as oil prices sagged ahead of the Aramco IPO.

“Khalid al-Falih has been removed from his position,” the official Saudi Press Agency said, citing a royal decree. “His royal highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman is appointed the minister of energy.”

“Prince Abdulaziz is a very seasoned veteran of Saudi and OPEC policymaking,” Bob McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group, told Bloomberg News. “He won’t have a learning curve. I don’t expect any big rupture in the current Saudi oil policy.” He further added.

Saudi Arabia is trying to diminish its dependency over the oil business. The ambitious crown prince has initiated a venture of developing a tech city in Saudi Arabia worths a whopping $50 billion.

“Saudi Arabia’s oil addiction is as strong as ever […] economically, of course, the Saudi economy runs on oil. Oil still dominates GDP, exports and government revenues,” said Jim Krane, an energy fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute.

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