The dismissal of Ali al-Naimi as Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister and appointing Khalid al-Falih instead, puts the country’s deputy Crown Prince firmly in control of energy policy and makes an agreement to freeze oil production unlikely, according to OPEC officials.
In his first remarks as Minister, Al-Falih said that the country would “remain committed to maintaining our role in international energy markets and strengthening our position as the world’s most reliable supplier of energy,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
According to Financial Times, the lift of the previously imposed sanctions has given a way to Iran to spark a competition with Saudi Arabia. Al-Falih will have to navigate the landscape meticulously.
Naimi had proved adept at managing the relationship with Iran and appeared open to compromise recently on production, signaling that the Saudi kingdom would cap its output at a certain level along with other big producers including non-OPEC members such as Russia.