• 1 hour Weatherford Looks To Sell Assets To Ease Some Of $8B Debt
  • 2 hours OPEC Set To Move Fast On Cut Extension Decision
  • 4 hours Nigeria Makes First Step Away From Oil
  • 16 hours Russia Approves Profit-Based Oil Tax For 2019
  • 20 hours French Strike Disrupts Exxon And Total’s Oil Product Shipments
  • 22 hours Kurdistan’s Oil Exports Still Below Pre-Conflict Levels
  • 1 day Oil Production Cuts Taking A Toll On Russia’s Economy
  • 1 day Aramco In Talks With Chinese Petrochemical Producers
  • 1 day Federal Judge Grants Go-Ahead On Keystone XL Lawsuit
  • 1 day Maduro Names Chavez’ Cousin As Citgo Boss
  • 1 day Bidding Action Heats Up In UK’s Continental Shelf
  • 2 days Keystone Pipeline Restart Still Unknown
  • 2 days UK Offers North Sea Oil Producers Tax Relief To Boost Investment
  • 2 days Iraq Wants To Build Gas Pipeline To Kuwait In Blow To Shell
  • 2 days Trader Trafigura Raises Share Of Oil Purchases From State Firms
  • 2 days German Energy Group Uniper Rejects $9B Finnish Takeover Bid
  • 2 days Total Could Lose Big If It Pulls Out Of South Pars Deal
  • 2 days Dakota Watchdog Warns It Could Revoke Keystone XL Approval
  • 3 days Oil Prices Rise After API Reports Major Crude Draw
  • 3 days Citgo President And 5 VPs Arrested On Embezzlement Charges
  • 3 days Gazprom Speaks Out Against OPEC Production Cut Extension
  • 3 days Statoil Looks To Lighter Oil To Boost Profitability
  • 3 days Oil Billionaire Becomes Wind Energy’s Top Influencer
  • 3 days Transneft Warns Urals Oil Quality Reaching Critical Levels
  • 3 days Whitefish Energy Suspends Work In Puerto Rico
  • 3 days U.S. Authorities Arrest Two On Major Energy Corruption Scheme
  • 4 days Thanksgiving Gas Prices At 3-Year High
  • 4 days Iraq’s Giant Majnoon Oilfield Attracts Attention Of Supermajors
  • 4 days South Iraq Oil Exports Close To Record High To Offset Kirkuk Drop
  • 4 days Iraqi Forces Find Mass Graves In Oil Wells Near Kirkuk
  • 4 days Chevron Joint Venture Signs $1.7B Oil, Gas Deal In Nigeria
  • 4 days Iraq Steps In To Offset Falling Venezuela Oil Production
  • 4 days ConocoPhillips Sets Price Ceiling For New Projects
  • 7 days Shell Oil Trading Head Steps Down After 29 Years
  • 7 days Higher Oil Prices Reduce North American Oil Bankruptcies
  • 7 days Statoil To Boost Exploration Drilling Offshore Norway In 2018
  • 7 days $1.6 Billion Canadian-US Hydropower Project Approved
  • 7 days Venezuela Officially In Default
  • 7 days Iran Prepares To Export LNG To Boost Trade Relations
  • 7 days Keystone Pipeline Leaks 5,000 Barrels Into Farmland
Has The Big Oil Fire Sale Started?

Has The Big Oil Fire Sale Started?

The world’s largest sovereign wealth…

Feeling The Oil Squeeze: Saudi King Ousts Finance Minister

Al-Assaf

Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister for twenty years, has been excused from his long-held position and reappointed as state minister. The move is part of a wider government reshuffle prompted by the persistently low oil prices that have opened an uncomfortably wide gap in the kingdom’s state budget.

Al-Assaf will be replaced by Mohammed Al-Jadaan, who previously served as chief of the country’s Capital Markets Authority.

Earlier this year, the Saudi king, or rather Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was put in charge of reforms, removed Saudi Arabia’s long-serving Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi from his position, replacing him with Khalid al-Falih. The prince also appointed HSBC’s former head of Middle East and North Africa operations Mohammad Al Tuwaijri as Deputy Economic Minister.

Last week, both Al-Tuwaijri and Al-Assaf took part in a popular talk show on Saudi TV to defend a set of austerity measures aimed at propping up the kingdom’s finances. The country last year booked a budget deficit of over 15 percent of GDP, and this year the IMF expects another deficit, albeit a bit smaller, at 13 percent of GDP.

The two ministers discussed – and defended – the steps taken to mitigate the effects of this deficit, such as canceling fuel subsidies and cutting the public administration wages by as much as 20 percent – things that did boost their popularity in the eyes of Saudi citizens, especially public servants, who complained loudly about the cuts.

Al-Tuwaijri, for his part, accused public employees of being lazy and inefficient, and stressed that this would need to change to bring an economic recovery to Saudi Arabia after being punched by lingering low oil prices that they had hoped would have already recovered.

As Bloomberg notes in a recap of the TV show, the Deputy Economy Minister also indirectly slammed Al-Assaf for unwise investments made in the past at a time when petrodollars were pouring in.

The Finance Minister defended himself over those investment decisions, but apparently not convincingly enough. His removal signals that the kingdom’s new rulers are set on doing whatever they can to reverse its failing fortunes.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News