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.

Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

Updated 09 August 2020

Aramco profits fall in tough quarter, but sees partial recovery from COVID-19 impact

  • Aramco see’s “partial recovery” from pandemic impact
  • Aramco president says company remains resilient

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company, reported a net income of $6.57bn for the second quarter of 2020, the period which witnessed the most volatile oil market conditions for many decades.

The result, announced to the Tadawul stock exchange in Riyadh where the shares are listed, compared with income of $24.7 bn last year.

Amin Nasser, president and chief executive, said: “Despite COVID-19 bringing the world to a standstill, Aramco kept going. We have proven our financial resilience and operational reliability, setting a record in our business operations, while at the same time taking steps to ensure the health and safety of our people.”

Aramco’s dividend - a big attraction for the investors who bought into the world’s biggest initial public offering last year - will remain as pledged, Nasser added. Cash flow in the quarter amounted to $6.106 bn.

““Strong headwinds from reduced demand and lower oil prices are reflected in our second quarter results. Yet we delivered solid earnings because of our low production costs, unique scale, agile workforce, and unrivalled financial and operational strength. This helped us deliver on our plan to maintain a second quarter dividend of $18.75 billion to be paid in the third quarter,” he said.

Aramco said the loss was “mainly reflecting the impact of lower crude oil prices and declining refining and chemicals margins, partly offset by a decrease in production royalties resulting from lower crude oil prices and a decrease in the royalty rate from 20 per cent to 15 per cent, lower income taxes and zakat as a result of lower earnings, and higher other income related to sales for gas products.”

Sales and revenue in the period - which saw oil prices collapse on “Black Monday” in April - fell 57 per cent to $32.861 bn from the comparable period last year. 

Nasser said he was cautiously optimistic that the world economy was slowly recovering from the depths of the pandemic lockdowns.

“We are seeing a partial recovery in the energy market as countries around the world take steps to ease restrictions and reboot their economies. Meanwhile, we continue to place people’s safety first and have adapted to the new normal, implementing wide-ranging precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 wherever we operate.

“We are determined to emerge from the pandemic stronger and will continue making progress on our long-term strategic journey, through ongoing investments in our business – which has one of the lowest upstream carbon footprints in the world,” he added.

Aramco expects capital expenditure to be at the lower end of the $25bn to $30bn range it has already indicated for this year.