Saudi Energy Minister Al-Falih Replaced with Prince
Shortly after he was replaced as chairman of Saudi Aramco, the Saudi government has replaced Khalid al-Falih as energy minister. Taking this job will be Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, half-brother of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. He will be the first member of the royal family to serve in that position.
Al-Falih was appointed oil/energy minister in May 2016. He was said to be the architect of a pact between OPEC and a group of other oil producers, including Russia, which aimed to reduce oil supply to boost prices.
Though the agreement has lasted for nearly three years, it has not succeeded in achieving the goal of driving prices back to the $80 a barrel level Saudi Arabia wanted, which observers interpreted as a likely reason for the leadership change.
The appointment of the prince breaks with Saudi tradition. Commentators saw it as yet another sign that Aramco is moving closer to what could be the world's biggest initial public offering. Al-Falih had "never been enthusiastic about an ipo for Aramco," a senior OPEC source told CNN Business.