Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Saudi Arabian Oil Company, better known as Saudi Aramco, has announced major restructuring, with the state oil giant unveiling a new supreme council and making Amin Hassan Nasser acting president and CEO “until further notice.”
The 10-member Supreme Council of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company will be headed by the Deputy Crown Prince. The move was approved by the Council of Economic and Developmental Affairs, which the Deputy Crown Prince also chairs.
“The council is chaired by HRH Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud, who is also Deputy Crown Prince, Minister of Defense, Chairman of the Royal Court and Special Adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,” the Aramco statement said.
Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was appointed Deputy Crown Prince earlier this week as part of a string of royal decrees issued by King Salman.
Aramco made the announcement following the company’s annual meeting in Seoul, South Korea last week.
The move will also see the company operate independently of the oil ministry.
Senior vice president of Aramco Amin Hassan Nasser was named the company’s acting head on Friday following a major cabinet reshuffle, also announced as part of the royal decrees, that saw Aramco’s outgoing president and CEO Khalid Al-Falih appointed health minister.
In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Dr. Mohamed Ramady, Professor of Economics at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, said: “This new Aramco will be different to the Aramco of the past. The new council will give the company a greater mission and vision than before, and it won’t just be a production unit that receives its orders from the Oil Ministry, but instead will be an independent economic entity with a Supreme Council that possesses broad-ranging powers.”
Middle East director of the British investment manager Ashmore Group, John Sfakianakis, praised the appointment of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as head of the new Aramco council.
“There is good logic behind appointing Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as head of the new council, as he is head of the Council of Economic and Developmental Affairs which ensures high level coordination,” he said.