Aramco chair appointment part of wider economic reforms

Aramco chair appointment part of wider economic reforms

Yasir bin Othman Al-Rumayyan. (AP)

The appointment of Yasser Al-Rumayyan as chairman of Saudi Aramco triggered some speculation about his oil credentials and whether he was the right man for the job. Let’s lay that view to rest.
Economic reforms under the umbrella of Vision 2030 are progressing well and part of this is to prepare Aramco for privatization.
The unrivaled experience of Al-Rumayyan leading the Public Investment Fund (PIF) is needed by the oil giant as it nears a listing.
After all, not only is the PIF one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, it is also Vision 2030’s lead economic reformer.
These reforms are much more important to the Kingdom’s economic future than current oil prices — including the move toward transparency, the fight against corruption and the broader efforts to develop other industries.
At the same time, OPEC + continues successfully with its goal of stabilizing oil markets, with the group adhering to high levels of compliance with production cuts.
Yet some quarters of the international oil media haven’t fully woken up to the structural changes that are underway in the Kingdom and it sometimes feels like the more the Kingdom progresses, the more that progress is questioned.
The Royal Decree appointing Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman as Minister of Energy is a natural reflection of what the situation requires.
Vision 2030 was launched more than three years ago. Now it is entering a new phase in which leaders with different qualities and tools are required.
For example, we saw the appointment of a new chairman — from the financial world — to Saudi Aramco, which is poised to offer part of itself to local and international markets. We also saw the the separation of industry and mineral wealth and the creation of a new independent ministry with the appointment of a minister from the private industrial sector. Today we also have a new Minister of Energy.
All of these developments and appointments are part of the same process and one that continues irrespective of the price of oil.

Faisal Faeq is an energy and oil marketing adviser. He was formerly with OPEC and Saudi Aramco. Twitter:@faisalfaeq.

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