DUBAI: Amin Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, received tributes from leaders of the global energy industry as he was named Energy Executive of the Year at a virtual ceremony that highlighted his decades of work at the Saudi oil giant.
Nasser said that he took pride in the award, which was “deeply personal” because of his family’s long association with Aramco.
“The pride comes from being part of a community that cares for the company, the country and the planet,” he said.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman said the award was “fully merited” for Nasser’s career achievements.
It was decided by global energy leaders and awarded by the Energy Intelligence consultancy.
“It is richly deserved — not for a single year but a lifetime of achievement — and it is particularly humbling as it’s the view of his peers,” Prince Abdul Aziz said, highlighting the challenges that have faced the Aramco chief recently, including the attacks on the Kingdom’s oil facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais last year, the initial public offering of shares on the Tadawul, the $70 billion acquisition of SABIC and the response to the collapse of oil demand as a result of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Any one of these would be career-defining for most companies and their CEOs, but Amin has had to deal with all these (and more besides) in rapid succession. He is always a calming voice in a sometimes crazy and polarized world. His strategic vision and outlook are matched by his technical competence — he knows what he is talking about. He means what he says and delivers what he promises,” the energy minister said.
“He is an inspiration, in particular, to the younger generation of men and women who look to him for guidance. And he is a very safe hand on the tiller — something that gives us all great comfort when navigating stormy waters,” the prince added.
Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell and last year’s recipient of the award, said that Nasser had become the leader of the national oil companies in the global energy world, and had reached the “very pinnacle” of the oil industry.
Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the oil industry, praised Nasser’s “down to earth knowledge” of the oil production process alongside his “overall grasp of the global industry.”
Raja Sidawi, chairman of Energy Intelligence, said that the work of the team, led by Nasser, to restore production at the Abqaiq and Khurais facilities after the attack last September was “miraculous.”
Nasser told the virtual ceremony that he found it “discouraging and distressing” when critics attacked the energy industry, especially over environmental matters.
“We should not be complacent about climate change. It is the biggest of our challenges. But the oil industry has done a lot for the global economy,” he said.
Nasser added that he believed the worst was over for the oil industry after the wild market fluctuations of the past year, and that he thought global demand would recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2022.