On Sunday, the 8th of September 2019, the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, appointed his son, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, 59, half-brother of Saudi’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, as the energy minister of the oil-dependent nation, meanwhile supplanting Khalid al-Falih and handing over the portfolio of the world’s second-largest oil exporter to a family member of the Saudi royal family for the first time in history.
In point of fact, latest Saudi move to oust its energy minister came forth a couple of days after al-Falih was replaced by PIF head as the Chair of Saudi’s state-controlled oil giant, Aramco, the largest privately held firm in the world in terms of revenue.
Nonetheless, last week, followed by reveal of the decision to replace al-Falih as the head of Saudi Aramco, analysts and economists were widely contemplating the move as a decentralization push of the Saudi government, but later on Sunday (September 8th), former energy minister al-Falih was sacked from the ministry by the Supreme leader of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which triggered multiple questions, some of which were involving loyalty of al-Falih to Saudi’s Supreme Leader, Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, since his tie-ups with OPEC+ nations likes of its founding members, Venezuela and Iran amid US sanction was not greeted cordially by Saudi’s Western allies, some of which including Trump Administration had repeatedly called for a higher output and asked Saudi, the OPEC Kingpin, not to raise oil price too harshly in the past.
Meanwhile, as analysts remained in peril on how Saudi’s latest decision to oust its energy minister would affect oil price and its tie-ups with OPEC and OPEC+ nations, a Saudi official said on Sunday (September 8th), “Saudi oil policy will be enhanced by the appointment of Prince Abdulaziz, through strengthening cooperation among OPEC and with non-OPEC,” while brushing aside possibilities of any major shift on Saudi’s OPEC policy, a managing director of RBC Capital Markets, Helima Croft said earlier on Monday (September 9th), “He (Prince Abdulaziz) is an incredibly capable technocrat, who is steeped in the energy industry. I do not think there will be any major shifts coming on OPEC policy or broader initiatives. ”