New Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih was longtime Saudi Aramco chief

Khalid Al-Falih, new energy minister
Updated 07 May 2016

New Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih was longtime Saudi Aramco chief

RIYADH: Khalid Al-Falih, named byon Saturday to head a super Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, was the longtime chief of state oil giant Saudi Aramco.
From 2009, he was Saudi Aramco’s president and CEO, in charge of about 60,000 employees at the firm which produces roughly one in every eight barrels of the world’s oil supply.
In May last year, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman tapped Al-Falih to become health minister as part of an earlier government shuffle, but he also stayed on with Aramco as chairman during a dramatic global decline in oil prices which left Saudi Arabia with a record budget deficit last year.
The plunging oil revenues have accentuated a drive for economic alternatives in the world’s biggest oil exporter, which on April 25 released a wide-ranging “Vision 2030” plan aimed at transforming the economy away from its dependence on crude.
The government reorganization announced on Saturday by King Salman reflects these new priorities which include greater efficiency in state administration.
Al-Falih will head the broader Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources as the kingdom tries to boost industry — from petrochemicals to defense — and alternative energy sources while mining is expected to take on a greater role in the economy.
Al-Falih replaces Ali Al-Naimi who headed the now defunct Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and who will become an adviser to the Royal Court.
There was no immediate word on a replacement for Al-Falih as chairman of Aramco, which is to be partly listed on the stock market as a foundation of the Vision 2030 plan.
According to an official biography, Al-Falih, earned in 1982 a mechanical engineering degree from Texas A&M University in the United States.
In 1991, he graduated with an MBA from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in his homeland.
Prior to assuming the presidency of Saudi Aramco, from 2007 he was its executive vice president of operations.


Egypt and Cyprus to boost Eastern Med gas ties

Updated 39 min 10 sec ago

Egypt and Cyprus to boost Eastern Med gas ties

  • The two countries also progressed talks to build a marine pipeline
  • The pair agreed to hold a further meeting within the next two weeks

CAIRO: Egypt and Cyprus plan to boost cooperation in developing gas infrastructure in the Easter Mediterranean.
Egypt’s petroleum and mineral resources minister Tariq Al-Mulla on Wednesday discussed plans to convert the East Mediterranean Gas Forum to an intergovernmental organization with Cyprus’s Minister of Energy Natasa Pilides.
The pair agreed to hold a further meeting within the next two weeks to complete the procedures for the forum.
The two countries also progressed talks to build a marine pipeline between the two countries to transfer natural gas from the Aphrodite gas field of Cyprus and re-export it through Egypt.
A 2010 study by the United States Geological Survey estimated the volume of gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean basin to be about 345 trillion cubic feet of gas. This basin also contains some 3.4 billion barrels of oil, along with large quantities of gas liquids.