Saudi king replaces energy minister with son

AP file photo

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman attends the International Energy Forum in Cancun, Mexico, in March 2010.

The Associated Press DUBAI (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s King Salman replaced the country’s energy minister with one of his own sons Sunday, naming Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman to one of the most important positions in the country as oil prices remain below what is needed to keep up with government spending.

The new energy minister is an older half brother to 34-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and replaces Khalid al-Falih, who’d been in the role since 2016.

Prince Abdulaziz enters the job with a lifetime of experience in Saudi Arabia’s energy sector and is seen as a safe and steady choice to lead the ministry, where he will oversee production of one of the world’s largest oil exporters.

He has held senior roles in the energy ministry for more than three decades and most recently was minister of state for energy affairs.

Despite now getting the top role overseeing Saudi Arabia’s energy portfolio, Prince Abdulaziz is not known to be close to Prince Mohammed, the king’s most powerful son and heir to the throne.

His appointment marks the first time a Saudi prince from the ruling Al Saud family heads the important energy ministry.

The move comes as Brent crude oil trades under $60 a barrel, well below the $80-$85 range that analysts say is needed to balance the Saudi budget.

Al-Falih’s position, from where he oversaw about 60 percent of the Saudi economy, had been diminished in recent days.Speech

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