Vienna- A large number of journalists failed late Monday to speak with new Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih after arriving at a hotel in Vienna from a backdoor.
The journalists had gathered at the entrance of Park Hyatt hotel in Vienna to wait for the arrival of the Saudi minister. Al Falih showed up few minutes before midnight and chose to enter the hotel from a backdoor. Although journalists followed him to the elevator door, the new minister had entered without answering any of their questions.
Al Falih is in Austria to attend Thursday his first OPEC meeting. Even on Tuesday morning, journalists could not follow the new minister when he left, also from a backdoor, heading to OPEC headquarters.
Commenting on what happened, analyst Mohammed Al Ramadi said: “This is very normal. Al Falih does not want his comments as energy minister to be misreported by media outlets, especially that the market is so eager to learn how he thinks.”
Reuters had also published a report on Tuesday about the arrival of Al Falih to Austria three days ahead of the OPEC meeting, saying this was a sign that the new minister takes this organization very seriously.
At his arrival, Al Falih visited OPEC headquarters and met with Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri for about an hour and a half, then toured the building.
Thursday will be Al Falih’s first meeting at OPEC. Four Saudi ministers had sat on the same seat at OPEC, the last one being Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi. Al Falih is expected to face the same challenges as his predecessor, who witnessed 20 years of disputes in OPEC and the market’s management.