More than a change
change of guard at the top of Saudi Arabia’s oil minis try will set off more than a ripple or two in the global commodity markets. In one stroke, it sets the stage for the departure of Ali Al Nuaimi, who vacated the scene in favour of Khalid Al Falih, the Saudi Aramco chief, could potentially signal a major change in the kingdom’s oil policy and, in particular, how it views capping of global production capacities in the current weak-pricing regime. Al Falih has enough of the networking skills honed through the years to direct a more precise policy regarding oil, and, just as important, take along the majority viewpoint with him.
Even if the kingdom decides to continue with its stated policy on Opec production quotas, Al Falih looks the best man to articulate that perspective. He will try and bring on a more measured tone in the many dialogues that are taking place among oil-producing nations and at various levels. And his experience as Saudi Aramco chief, a position he will retain, gives him the added gravitas in making those negotiations count. How oil prices fare in the coming days and weeks will give an indication of how the markets take to his elevation. But they will react somehow. — Gulf News