Fair oil price is in the eye of the beholder: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz. (AFP)
Updated 15 October 2019

Fair oil price is in the eye of the beholder: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz

  • Comments made at Saudi-Russia CEO Forum while President Putin was visiting Riyadh
  • Oil price could have hit $130 per barrel after Sept. attacks, says Saudi Aramco chairman

RIYADH: Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the energy minister of Saudi Arabia, said that oil markets should focus on the “enabling price” for oil rather than a “fair price.” Speaking at the Saudi-Russia CEO Forum in Riyadh, the minister said that it was more important to focus on a price that would be sustainable to drive worldwide economic growth. “The ‘fair price’ is a cultural issue, and I have no idea where it should be. The fair price is in the eye of the beholder.”
He added: “It is more important to focus on sustainability than a fair price. A sustainable price enables you to provide economic growth and allows budgets to be more transparent and visible.”
Speaking of the OPEC+ alliance driven by Saudi Arabia and Russia, he said: “A lot of people focus on maximizing short-term income, but as the enablers in Russia and Saudi Arabia it allows us to focus on the long-term direction for sustainable development.”
Alexander Novak, energy minister of Russia, endorsed the view of his Saudi counterpart. He said that the OPEC+ agreement represented the first time in history that there had been a high level of cooperation between major producers to control oil output.
“Russia is ready to cooperate long term in OPEC+. We are going to take that agreement to the next level, which is the highest level,” he said.

The ‘fair price’ is a cultural issue, and I have no idea where it should be.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz

Prince Abdul Aziz added that he believed current oil prices would be significantly lower if the OPEC+ agreement was not in effect. OPEC and non-OPEC members would be meeting regularly to monitor output by members. “We are willing to take all measures to maintain balance in the markets,” he said.
Yasir Al-Rumayyan, chairman of Saudi Aramco and governor of the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, told delegates at the forum that the oil price could have hit $130 per barrel after the attacks on Abqaiq and Khurais last month, had they not been dealt with so quickly and efficiently.
“Had Aramco not got its production back, it would have led to a global recession,” he said.
Novak said that geopolitical risk had an effect on the global energy markets. In a reference to the effects of US sanctions and tariffs on the world economy, he said: “Geopolitics plays a role. You can see that now we are doing much less investment in the US, and much more in Asia and the Middle East.”
On the same panel, Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, downplayed the risks from security concerns in the Middle East.
“We saw how quickly Saudi Aramco recovered from the terrible attacks of last month. We believe that Middle Eastern tensions are overblown. What we are witnessing in Saudi Arabia is the fastest transformation of an economy in the history of mankind. The opportunity outweighs the political risk,” he said.


Ithra reveals 2020 events calendar

Updated 21 February 2020

Ithra reveals 2020 events calendar

  • Ithra Director Hussain Hanbazazah: ‘We are pleased to bring back favorites like our annual Tanween festival, in addition to new enriching programming’
  • Hussain Hanbazazah: ‘Impact has consistently been at the forefront of everything we deliver at Ithra, as we continue to broaden horizons, share knowledge and nurture potential’

DHAHRAN: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Thursday launched its plan for 2020, highlighting new programs as well as old favorites getting an encore.

Ithra was inaugurated by King Salman on Dec. 1, 2017, and was developed by Saudi Aramco. The striking building was designed by the Norwegian architectural firm Snohetta, which also designed the award-winning Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Oslo Opera House.

Its mission is to make an impact on human development by inspiring a passion for knowledge, creativity, and cross-cultural engagement.

“The start of this decade is particularly exciting for Ithra as we gear up to deliver a great slate of new programs and events in 2020 for our audiences,” said Ithra director Hussain Hanbazazah. “We are pleased to bring back favorites like our annual Tanween festival, in addition to new enriching programming as well as our other popular seasonal events.” 

He said the team was ready to face the year with optimism, enthusiasm and a fresh perspective. They were working to deliver the best possible offerings, including cutting-edge theater, insightful exhibitions, culturally significant events and plenty of creative activities, he added. “Impact has consistently been at the forefront of everything we deliver at Ithra, as we continue on our dedication to broaden horizons, share knowledge and nurture potential.”

The launch of a new Twitter account, @VisitIthra, was also announced at the launch. It will document everything related to the center’s ongoing and upcoming activities.

Ithra also shared visitor numbers from the previous year. More than a million people visited the center in 2019 from more than 100 cities around the world, and 3,000 people contributed 250,000 hours of volunteer work. The center provided two million hours of teaching and education.

This year there will be over 40 plays from 13 different countries staged at Ithra. The center also aims to support local cinema with 23 films next year.

As Saudi Arabia diversifies its economy under the Vision 2030 reform plan, Ithra has reinforced its offerings with five key pillars: Creativity, culture, knowledge, art and community. 

Last month saw the inauguration of the Ithra Content Commissioning Program, an opportunity for local creatives, freelancers and small businesses to develop new content, as well as the first Ithra Cultural Days festival that celebrated Vietnamese culture. Vietnam Cultural Days was a huge success, with over 45,000 visitors enjoying the festivities and experiencing authentic food, art, activities and performances.

From March onward, the schedule features programs, events, and activities that combine entertainment and education. The Saudi Film Festival will also celebrate its sixth edition in partnership with Ithra.

The year will culminate with Ithra’s flagship creativity season Tanween, which is in its third edition. It will have a new theme, workshops and international guests.

Last year Tanween featured 232 cultural, artistic and scientific events that ranged from art exhibitions, theatrical performances, workshops and seminars about the concept of playing as a tool that brings together education and recreation.