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Ali Al Nuaimi, a Trustworthy Oil Guardian - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Khobar- Former Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al Nuaimi is expected to receive his award of appreciation on the 24th of May. Al Nuaimi had departed his post earlier this month due to a cabinet reshuffle, given that he at his time represented the whole of the Saudi oil industry. Al Nuaimi spent no less than 70 years of serving the industry. The prime of his work was marked by assignment to minister-hood and had maintained the post for 20 years.

Last December, in Vienna, as the former minister took a 6:00 am walk out the main gates of the hotel he was staying at, the typical dozens of reporters, who had known Al Nuaimi for long years, were waiting on the other side.

Some reporters cognizant with the art of reading facial impressions realized the absence of the minister’s usual welcoming smile and that his openhearted welcome for press was not present. Some reporters realized that it could be the last time they would be seeing Al Nuaimi ever again or walk his side while roaming across the Austrian capital.

With the icy morning keeping them company, some reporters inquired on the reason behind the minister’s reluctance on holding interviews with media for a then notably long time. The minister’s heated reply flamed up the freezing temperature.

“I have been a minister for twenty years now. I have seen it all and been through it all. I have given countless interviews to press, broadcasts and channels; and at the end, nothing has changed, everyone plays around my words, twisting them into what I have never said and in ways befitting their aims,” said Al Nuaimi.

Ever since day one of working at Saudi Aramco, the widely beloved Al Nuaimi – who also goes by “Abu Rami”, an endearing title given to people in the Arab world- had seen it all through the 40’s and till the moment he stepped down.

Former Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al Nuaimi started his service in the oil industry in the 40’s, a time which Aramco was still an Arabian-American oil company, and watched Aramco become the Saudi Aramco it is today, and naturally he was the first to head the prominent Saudi Arabian national oil company.

Not only that, but Al Nuaimi had witnessed the stark fluxes of oil rates. As Al Nuaimi said when describing the span of experience he has , he bared witness to the low $10 per barrel rate in the late 90’s, and was present at the sky rocketing $147 during mid-2008.

He has also seen the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia produce up to 3 million barrels a day, and has witnessed the days when production stepped over the 10 million a day.

Before leaving his post, Al Nuaimi had led one of the fiercest OPEC battles, at which he convinced all members in November 2014 to unhand defending deteriorating prices- plummeting at the time due to excess product displayed at the global market- and to adopt a market share defense strategy against producers who had increased production over the last years to limit the rate to $100. The strategy is still applied until this day.

Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Anas Khalid Al Saleh, speaking of Al Nuaimi, said “ It was an honor to work with Minister Al Nuaimi in his last days of service and it was an privilege to witness him defend the best interest of Gulf countries and OPEC through the market share strategy. He is our guide and I have learned a lot from him despite the short time we shared.”