The Schork Report Publisher Stephen Schork on the oil industry and the Saudi Aramco IPO’s future.
Saudi Arabia removed energy minister Khalid al-Falih, replacing him with Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the king’s daughter and crown prince’s half-brother.
The selection of Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman as Minister of Energy, which shattered the tradition of getting someone outside the royal family in control of the oil industry, further consolidates authority around Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as he tries to upgrade his strategy for Vision 2030.
“MbS seemed to have cut its arms after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Istanbul Saudi Consulate last year,” stated Jason Turvey, a senior emerging-market economist at London-based Capital Economics, in a letter sent to customers on Monday. “But MbS has come back to the fore in the last few months.”
Al-Falih’s withdrawal arises as the UAE has had difficulty engineering an increase in oil prices that may be required to assist Saudi Aramco, the state-run oil company, attain a $2 trillion valuation.
“The shift at the Ministry of Energy’s helm contains the ability to concentrate on further promoting oil prices in line with budgetary or national reasons,” stated London economist/strategist Jean-Michael Sallba, Bank of America Merrill Lynch MENA.
Speaking at Monday’s power rally in Abu Dhabi, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said, “Cutting production will help all OPEC participants.”
Brent’s cost rose on the remarks and traded nearly $62,75 a barrel, well below the $80 a barrel on which the Kingdom-focused this year’s budget.
An Aramco IPO, which was supposed to add $2 trillion to the business at one stage and reach $100 billion, would assist the country increase the cash it wants to upgrade its army and perform on the social agenda of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
Vision 2030, launched in April 2016 by the Crown Prince, seeks to create public-service industries such as health, schooling, facilities, leisure and tourism, and to keep the Saudi economy free from its oil and gas reliance, which presently accounts for about half of its gross domestic product.
“Worryingly, the focus of the government seems to have moved away from the profound structural changes to the company setting and labour market required to reform the Saudi economy and decrease its dependence on oil,” Turvey stated.