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Saudi Arabia names Prince Abdulaziz as new energy minister

Saudi Arabia, September 8, 2019

Saudi Arabia appointed Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman as the kingdom's new energy minister who replaces Khalid Al Falih, state news agency SPA reported on Sunday, citing a royal decree.

Mr Al Falih’s future had become uncertain after he was removed within a week of his responsibility for overseeing industrial development. The new appointment is unlikely to change the kingdom's energy policy which has remained consistent whenever the government is reshuffled.

Prince Abdulaziz has served in the energy ministry for over a decade.

Earlier in the week Saudi Arabia appointed Yasir Al Rumayyan, the governor of the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, as chairman of Saudi Aramco, replacing Mr Al Falih.

The move comes as the state oil company looks to distance the energy ministry from Aramco to avoid a conflict of interest and as it aims to tap broader investor appeal ahead of a planned listing.

Mr Al Falih had congratulated his successor in a tweet on Monday, saying his appointment 'comes as an important step to prepare the company for a public offering.'

Last week a royal decree from King Salman split the energy, industry and mineral resources ministry into two, and had left the core energy portfolio with Mr Al Falih.

Businessman Bandar Alkhorayef was appointed head of the new industry and mineral resources ministry, which will assume responsibility for the portfolio in the next fiscal year.

The move is seen as a streamlining of efforts as the kingdom prepares to list 5 per cent of Saudi Aramco at the end of this year or early 2020, according to recent reports.