No major changes to Saudi oil policy expected under new energy minister

Industry veteran and royal Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman is likely to keep Saudi oil policy constant during his tenure as the nation's energy minister

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Aramco

Newly appointed Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman is likely to keep the nation's energy policies constant, as he takes over the role from Khalid Al-Falih. 

When asked at the World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi if there would be any "dramatic" policy changes with the shift in leadership, he responded with a laugh that it "depends on how dramatic the market is."

He emphasised that his ministry would be separate from Saudi Aramco, taking on a regulatory role and focusing on policy making for the nation's oil industry. However, he takes on the position as part of the kingdom's preparations for an initial public offering of up to 5% of Saudi Aramco.

"... It is incumbent on the minister to ensure that Aramco's role in the future is enhanced, improved, and supported," he said, continuing to note the company's bond issuance, new concession, and new bylaws created for Aramco.

"I don't think that it was even conceivable by myself that when Aramco put together a $10bn bond issuance, it would have $120bn of willing subscribers.

"It was a testament to the strength, the support, and the belief of Saudi Arabia, the Saudi economy, and also the company that the Saudi government had created," he said. Still, he stressed the need to separate the government from the corporation, calling it "a must".

While some media outlets and analysts have called attention to his historic appointment as the first royal to lead the energy ministry, he has had a long career in the oil industry, most recently as the minister of state for energy affairs, which saw him frequently appear at OPEC meetings. 

"I am here to build, and if I cannot build, I will not destroy. I have been part of that building process," he said.


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