Saudi Arabia's King Salman Bin Abdulaziz named his son Prince Abdulaziz as the country's energy minister, replacing Khalid Al-Falih, who led three years of active Opec (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) diplomacy to forge a global alliance with producers such as Russian Federation to limit production in order to prop up prices.
The former energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, began to fall from favor more than a week ago when he was replaced as chairman of Saudi Aramco by Yasir al-Rumayyan.
If nothing else, Abdulaziz demonstrated on Monday that he has a sense of humour - and retains a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to the seemingly endless warnings about decreased oil demand.
The American Petroleum Institute is reporting weekly oil inventory estimates today and if it is in its now habitual surprising mode it could push prices further up.
He also said he would endorse production cuts to help boost oil prices, which have been hit by the US-China trade war.
The prince was in Abu Dhabi to attend the World Energy Congress, followed by a meeting on Thursday of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) of the OPEC+ alliance for a supply cut deal reached a year ago.
"Oil prices are down on concern that the USA administration could ease its stance versus Iran, which could see disrupted Iranian oil barrels returning to the market if United States sanctions against Iran get eased".
Oil extended gains from the highest level in nearly six weeks as Saudi Arabia's new energy minister signaled his commitment to output cuts. "The prince is a long time energy ministry official and has been part of the Saudi delegation that has set the OPEC production policy".
"He won't have a learning curve". "Fundamentally, Saudi Arabia's energy policy is resting on few pillars". His elevation concentrates more power within the immediate family of King Salman, who ascended to the throne in 2015.
Prince Abdulaziz is the king's fourth son and a half-brother of crown Prince Mohammed.
Aramco and India's largest private sector corporate entity Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) have agreed to form a partnership where the Saudi company will invest in the Indian firm for 20 per cent stake in its oil-to-chemical business. Failure to reach a $2tr valuation as desired by Saudi rulers is widely considered the reason the IPO, earlier scheduled for 2018, was delayed.
"Worryingly, the government's attention appears to have shifted away from the deep structural reforms to the business environment and the labour market that are needed to overhaul the Saudi economy and reduce its reliance on oil", Turvey concluded.
Saudi Aramco has not announced where the listing will be held, but London, New York and Hong Kong have all vied for a slice of the much-touted IPO.
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