Saudi Arabia replaces long-time oil minister Ali Al Naimi

Long-standing Saudi oil minister Ali Al Naimi, the architect of the 2014 switch in Opec policy that has since roiled crude markets, was replaced with Khalid Al Falih, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, according to nation’s official news agency.

Mr Al Falih, who was excused from his post as health minister, will head the ministry of energy, industry and mineral wealth, the Saudi Press Agency reported, citing a royal decree.

Mr Al Naimi, 80, had held the post since 1995, and was one of Opec’s longest-serving and most influential ministers. Mr Al Falih, born in 1959, was running Saudi Aramco, as the world’s largest petroleum company is known.

Like his predecessor, Mr Al Falih is not a member of the Saudi ruling family, and his appointment by King Salman is in keeping with the nation’s practice of promoting non-royals to manage its petroleum industry.

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