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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his meeting with President Donald Trump during a working breakfast on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

Saudi Arabia’s Oil Industry Faces Unprecedented Risk and Uncertainty

Monday, Oct. 21, 2019

Saudi Arabia’s oil sector has probably never seen developments as jarring as the ones since late August. An unprecedented shakeup in the Ministry of Energy, with a member of the royal family appointed energy minister for the first time, was followed by the stunningly precise attacks on oil facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia in the early hours of Sept. 14. Once-inconceivable questions are now being asked about the extent of U.S. commitments to the kingdom’s security, which have formed the backbone of Saudi policy for decades. How will the kingdom react?

The removal of Khalid al-Falih as both energy minister and chairman of the state oil giant Aramco means that two prominent technocrats entrusted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to spearhead his vaunted “Vision 2030” economic development program, which aims to shift the Saudi economy away from oil, have now fallen from grace. Adel al-Faqih, a former minister of economy and planning once close to the crown prince, was held in the notorious Ritz-Carlton roundup in November 2017, and is still being detained. ...

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