Saudi Arabia sacks oil minister in government shake-up

Long-serving minister Ali al-Naimi replaced by Khaled al-Faleh in reshuffle announced by state media.

    Naimi was appointed oil minister in 1995 during the reign of King Fahd [Reuters]
    Naimi was appointed oil minister in 1995 during the reign of King Fahd [Reuters]

    Saudi Arabia has sacked its oil minister Ali al-Naimi as part of a major cabinet reshuffle, state media reported.

    Naimi was replaced by former health minister Khaled al-Faleh in the overhaul announced on Saturday in a series of royal decrees issued by King Salman.

    The Saudi monarch replaced the ministers in charge of the energy, oil, water, transport, commerce, social affairs, health and pilgrimage portfolios and established a new recreation and culture commission.

    State television said the oil ministry would now be known as the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mining. 

    Naimi was appointed oil minister in 1995 after serving as the head of Saudi Aramco, the country's national energy company and one of the richest companies in the world.

    The long-serving minister was responsible for Saudi Arabia's policy of continuing to maintain oil production at the same rate despite low oil prices.

    Prices fell to a 12-year low of below $30 in January but have since recovered to around $45.

    The drop has led to Saudi Arabia revamping its economic polices to take into account a future without a heavy reliance on oil

    The country's 'Vision 2030' plan envisages a diverse economy involved in global markets driven by a public investment fund.

    Policies proposed in recent months include a partial public offering of around five percent in Aramco and the introduction of a "green card" system to grant expatriates permanent residency and reduce the flow of money outside of the country in remittances.

    Inside Story - What's behind the falling price of oil?

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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