20190908_Abdulaziz bin Salman
Saudi Arabia's King Salman replaced the country's energy minister with one of his own sons Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, naming Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman to one of the most important positions in the country Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Saudi Arabia has named Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman, a son of the king, as energy minister, replacing Khalid Al Faleh, state news agency SPA reported on Sunday, citing a royal decree.

The appointment represents the first time a member of the ruling Al Saud family has held the energy minister post in the world’s top oil exporter.

The new energy minister is an older half-brother to the crown prince, Mohammad Bin Salman, and an experienced oil industry figure in Saudi Arabia. He has been minister of state for energy affairs since 2017

Prince Abdulaziz is a longstanding member of the No. 1 crude exporter’s delegation to the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), with decades of experience in the oil sector.

Negotiator

As a veteran of OPEC policy-making, Prince Abdulaziz is not expected to change the kingdom’s oil policy, since he helped negotiate the current agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC countries to cut global crude supply to support prices and balance the market, analysts say.

It is the first time a member of the ruling Al Saud family will hold the energy minister post.

In 2017, he was named Minister of State for Energy Affairs, and has worked closely with previous oil minister Ali Al Nuaimi as his deputy for years.

Lengthy experience

Some industry insiders say the prince’s lengthy experience has overcome what has always been seen as the impossibility of appointing a royal to the post of energy minister in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has had five oil ministers since 1960, and none of them has been a royal.

Last month, Saudi Arabia created a ministry for industry and mineral resources, separating it from the kingdom’s colossal energy ministry.