Saudi Arabia signals OPEC cuts to continue under new energy minister

New Saudi energy minister urges producers to share burden

In June past year, a crunch OPEC meeting was on the edge of collapse.

Mills said Prince Abdulaziz will likely maintain the deal al-Falih struck with global oil producers to cut production, and not be able to increase them given the current market conditions.

"I'm not here to pre-empt the meeting that will be held in two days", he said.

The understudy is now playing the lead.

"We have always said that Aramco is ready whenever the shareholder makes a decision to list and as you heard from his Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz yesterday that it is going to be very soon, so we are prepared - that's the bottom line", he said.

While putting a prince in charge of oil policy is unprecedented, Abdulaziz is no novice.

Last week, Falih was replaced as chair of Saudi Aramco just as efforts are being stepped up to prepare the state oil company for an initial public offering. In 1985, while in his 20s, he became an adviser to the Saudi energy ministry before being named deputy oil minister and assistant oil minister.

Emirates Energy Conference
Amin Nasser the chairman and chief executive of the state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman spoke on Monday in Abu Dhabi at an energy conference about the role Opec member-states and other major oil producers like Russian Federation have ahead of a meeting this week to discuss global production cuts of 1.2 million barrels per day. London, Hong Kong, and Tokyo have all been rumored at some point as possible global venues for Aramco's listing, and major changes to key positions of power within the Oil Kingdom point to a decision being made in the very near future. -China trade war saps the outlook for global energy demand.

Saudi officials have approached some of the richest families in Saudi Arabia about potentially becoming anchor investors in the IPO, Bloomberg reported earlier this week. "The pillars don't change". During that period he led a team responsible for Saudi Arabia's oil strategy as well as long term Opec strategy. He was prone to using central banking tropes like "whatever it takes" in attempts to jawbone prices higher.

"Accordingly, I think OPEC+ will not resort to new production cuts" because that would further blunt the group's already shrunken market share, he said. "He is a bridge-builder, he's an astute diplomat". Aramco is now chaired by the head of the sovereign wealth fund and the industrial portfolio rests with another minister.

"The IPO really made us all focus on even exerting and accelerating every possible effort to highlight this", the prince said. Crude prices have stabilized around $60 a barrel, about $20 below what the kingdom needs to balance its budget.

Prices on Monday were also supported by a rise in oil imports in China in August, with shipments to the world's biggest importer up 3% from July and almost 10% higher in the first eight months of 2019 from a year earlier.

But in the three years since Prince Mohammed was appointed crown prince, he has upended convention in the absolute monarchy with his aggressive drive to reshape the conservative nation according to his vision. "The world can no longer afford such policy miscalculations". But the prince's more prominent role in the last two years - active at OPEC meetings and leading talks with Kuwait - suggests they'd become closer in the run-up to his promotion.

Crude prices are now moving around levels of $60 a barrel, compared with more than $75 a year ago, but were given a boost Monday by the Saudi official's comments.

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