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Former Saudi Energy Minister Al-Falih Returns As Investment Minister

Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s former Energy Minister has been appointed Investment Minister and will be tasked with securing funds for the Vision 2030 economic program devised and spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“I extend my highest thanks to the shrine of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and his loyal Crown Prince for royal confidence by appointing me as Minister of Investment, praying to God to help me to carry the trust, and to help me and my colleagues to achieve the aspirations of leadership and attract qualitative investments that contribute to achieving the vision of the Kingdom 2030,” Al-Falih wrote in a tweet earlier today.

Last September, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman replaced Khalid al-Falih with his son Abdulaziz, a long-term member of the Saudi delegation to OPEC. At the time, some saw the move as a sort of punishment for Al-Falih who, according to sources familiar with the workings of Riyadh, has been opposed to the initial public offering of Aramco.

Yet the removal of Khalid Al-Falih from the top energy job was only part of a wider reshuffle that saw the energy ministry split into two: energy, and industry and mining. Initially, Al-Falih remained head of the new energy ministry but was later removed.

The official was one of the drivers of the first OPEC+ production cut agreement that for the first time involved not just OPEC but a producer as large as Russia. Al-Falih also produced the “Whatever it takes” approach to oil price control, which, however, seems to have stopped working.

His replacement, Abdulaziz bin Salman, is quite a lot more straightforward in his approach to the media, signalling a determined approach to oil policies, too.

“We did not run out of ideas, we haven’t lost our phones and there are always good ways of communicating through conference calls and technology is very helpful,” the new minister said earlier this week in response to questions about OPEC’s next moves in the price control offensive.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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