Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid Al Falih has been removed from his role as the chairman of Saudi Aramco. The energy minister will be replaced by Yasir Al Rumayyan, head of the sovereign wealth fund. According to reports, the recent developments are a part of Saudi Arabia’s plan to separate Aramco from the Ministry of Energy as the state-owned oil company prepares for its initial public offering.
Yasir Al Rumayyan, previously held the role of a board member in Aramco and also acted as a key adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
In recent months, there have been speculations about Aramco changing its chairman ahead of its IPO.
With regard to Aramco’s chairman change, Olivier Jakob, managing director at consultant Petromatrix told the media that, “All this shows that in Saudi Arabia there has been some dissatisfaction at the highest levels on how things have been going. Khalid Al Falih has not really fully delivered on oil prices. He hasn’t delivered the price that’s required by the Saudi budget. There’s speculation that prices and the IPO are linked and they need higher prices to get the valuation they want for the IPO.”
Aramco’s IPO, which could be the world’s largest was put on hold last year. However, the process was accelerated after Aramco completed a $12 billion bond sale in April. Major stock exchanges around the globe such as the New York Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange are competing with each other to list Aramco.
However, according to reports, Saudi Aramco’s board is against a listing on the New York Stock Exchange as it involves too many legal risks. Another report suggests that Saudi Aramco is considering Tokyo as the international destination to list its shares.