Qatar Today - - BUSINESS -

As the coun­try grap­ples with weak oil prices, Saudi Ara­bia dis­missed its long-serv­ing oil min­is­ter Ali Al Naimi on May 7, mark­ing the de­par­ture of one of the in­dus­try’s most pow­er­ful fig­ures.

Al Naimi, who had been the King­dom's oil min­is­ter since 1995, has been a strong voice against low­er­ing Saudi Ara­bia's pro­duc­tion when prices fall, a move away from its past tac­tics. He moved the Or­ga­ni­za­tion of the Petroleum Ex­port­ing Coun­tries (OPEC) to keep pump­ing oil at a rapid clip de­spite a global sup­ply glut, a de­ci­sion that has weighed on crude oil mar­kets and de­pressed prices.

He will be suc­ceeded by Khalid Al Falih, chair­man of state oil com­pany Saudi Ara­bian Oil Co., bet­ter known as Saudi Aramco. It comes less than two weeks af­ter Saudi Ara­bia un­veiled an am­bi­tious eco­nomic re­form pro­gramme aimed at re­duc­ing the King­dom's de­pen­dence on oil rev­enue.

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