Sun, May 03, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Saudi Aramco announces board reshuffle, new CEO


Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil company has made wide-ranging leadership changes, including a new role for the king’s son.

Saudi Aramco, which has the ability to pump 12 million barrels of crude oil a day, named the firm’s upstream operations senior vice president Amin Nasser as interim chief executive officer, the company’s Twitter account showed.

The producer announced on Friday the formation of a new supreme board to oversee its affairs, led by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the king’s son and second in line to the throne.

Saudi Arabia is pumping near-record amounts of crude, leading OPEC in a policy of maintaining output to encourage producers outside the group to tackle oversupply.

When former Saudi-Arabian leader King Abdullah died at the end of January, oil analysts anticipated few changes to the nation’s production and export policies.

“There will be greater coordination at a macro level,” Ashmore Group PLC Riyadh-based director of Middle East investment John Sfakianakis said by telephone. “Changes at Saudi Aramco are part and parcel of the wider reorganization of the way the Saudi government functions.”

Nasser has held a range of roles at Saudi Aramco, according to the company’s Web site.

He became chief petroleum engineer in April 2004 and petroleum engineering and development executive director in May 2005.

Former Aramco president and chief executive officer Khalid al-Falih was appointed Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Health on Tuesday, according to the company’s Web site.

The new 10-member supreme board is set to be led by Prince bin Salman, who is also chairman of Saudi Arabia’s Council of Economic Affairs and Development, Saudi Aramco said in a statement released on its Web site on Friday.

The Supreme Petroleum Council, which previously set oil policy and was led by the late king, will be dissolved, according to the statement.

“The vision and mission of Aramco is now becoming bigger with this Supreme council,” King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals professor Mohammed al-Ramady said by telephone. “The establishment of Aramco’s supreme council completes the economic restructuring and centralization of authority and oversight of the key critical Saudi pillars of the economy.”

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