Governor of Saudi wealth fund appointed Aramco chairman

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Yasir Al-Rumayyan is head of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and already an Aramco board member. (AFP/File photo)
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Khalid Al-Falih, seen here, will be replaced as the chairman of Aramco by Yasir Al-Rumayyan, head of the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund (AFP/File photo)
Updated 03 September 2019

Governor of Saudi wealth fund appointed Aramco chairman

  • Yasir Al-Rumayyan replaces Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih from the top Aramco post
  • The move comes as the government prepares for an IPO of the state-owned oil company

RIYADH/DUBAI: Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has been appointed chairman of Saudi Aramco as the world’s biggest oil company gears up to list shares on a stock market.

Al-Rumayyan replaces Khalid Al-Falih, who has been chairman of Aramco since 2015 and has led the preparation for an initial public offering (IPO) of Aramco shares, as well as a record breaking $12 billion bond issue this year. He has been with Aramco since 1979.

Al-Falih remains minister of energy and head of the Saudi delegation at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), where he has been instrumental in forging an alliance with Russia to limit global crude oil production. Last week, a new Ministry of Industry and Minerals was set up, removing those sectors from his former portfolio.

Al-Falih tweeted his congratulations to Al-Rumayyan. “This comes as an important step to prepare the company for the public offering, wishing him every success,” he said.

Al-Rumayyan, who has overseen the transformation of the PIF from a small civil-service pension investor to a sovereign wealth fund with $320 billion of assets under management, is already on the board of Aramco.

Ellen Wald, a US consultant and author of the book Saudi Inc, highlighted the importance of the oil price for the IPO. “As long as Al-Falih is the energy minister, all assumptions are that he is in charge of oil policy and OPEC,” she told Arab News.


Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

Updated 16 September 2019

Oil prices surge after attacks hit Saudi output

  • The Houthi attacks hit two Aramco sites and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply
  • President Donald Trump said Sunday the US was ‘locked and loaded’ to respond to the attacks

HONG KONG: Oil prices saw a record surge Monday after attacks on two Saudi facilities slashed output in the world’s top producer by half, fueling fresh geopolitical fears as Donald Trump blamed Iran and raised the possibility of a military strike on the country.
Brent futures surged $12 in the first few minutes of business — the most in dollar terms since they were launched in 1988 and representing a jump of nearly 20 percent — while WTI jumped more than $8, or 15 percent.
Both contracts pared the gains but were both still more than 10 percent up.
The attack by Tehran-backed Houthi militia in neighboring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, hit two sites owned by state-run giant Aramco and effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply.
Trump said Sunday the US was “locked and loaded” to respond to the attack, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression.”
Tehran denies the accusations but the news revived fears of a conflict in the tinderbox Middle East after a series of attacks on oil tankers earlier this year that were also blamed on Iran.
“Tensions in the Middle East are rising quickly, meaning this story will continue to reverberate this week even after the knee-jerk panic in oil markets this morning,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
Trump authorized the release of US supplies from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, while Aramco said more than half of the five million barrels of production lost will be restored by tomorrow.
But the strikes raise concerns about the security of supplies from the world’s biggest producer.
Oil prices had dropped last week after news that Trump had fired his anti-Iran hawkish national security adviser John Bolton, which was seen as paving the way for an easing of tensions in the region.
“One thing we can say with confidence is that if part of the reason for last week’s fall in oil and improvement in geopolitical risk sentiment was the news of John Bolton’s sacking ... and thoughts this was a precursor to some form of rapprochement between Trump and Iran, then it is no longer valid,” said Ray Attrill at National Australia Bank.