The UAE has named a senior civil servant as its new Opec governor.
Ahmed Mohammed Al Kaabi, who runs the oil, gas and mineral wealth section of the Ministry of Energy, will replace Ali Obaid Al Yabhouni, who has been the UAE’s long-serving member of Opec’s board of governors, the body that oversees day-to-day matters for the secretariat in Vienna.
The role also is to serve as No 2 to the Minister of Energy, Suhail Al Mazrouei, in the UAE’s delegation to Opec.
Before joining the ministry, Mr Al Kaabi worked as an executive in Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), the state oil company. Mr Al Yabhouni also is a senior Adnoc executive.
The next scheduled Opec ministerial meeting is on June 2, although no change in policy is expected.
Opec’s role has been diminishing for decades, supplanted by the actions of Saudi Arabia – usually supported by its Gulf allies, including the UAE – as the world’s cheapest producer and holder of most of the spare capacity.
That has been the case especially since the end of 2014, when Saudi Arabia decided to follow a market-driven strategy to defend market share to drive higher-cost production off the market.
There has also been a growing dispute with Iran, one of Opec’s most powerful members, which is determined to ramp up its output by 1 million barrels per day to the level before nuclear-related sanctions were imposed in 2012.
The national delegations to Opec typically are made up of three: the minister, the governor and a national representative. The latter currently for the UAE is Salem Hareb Al Mehairi, a shipping specialist at the Ministry of Transport.
Mr Al Kaabi is a graduate of the Institut français du pétrole at Rueil-Malmaison, near Paris, where he earned a master’s degree in engineering.
Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter