Oil giant Saudi Aramco appoints new CEO
London - Amin Nasser has been appointed president and chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest energy company, in a widely expected move by the Dhahran-based company’s Supreme Council.
“Amin is a team player and a visionary. With his appointment the company is in a better position to refocus on upstream objectives,” Sadad al-Husseini, a former top executive at Saudi Aramco told Reuters.
According to his official profile, Amin Nasser joined Saudi Aramco in 1982 after graduating from the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran with a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering.
After holding various positions, in May 2005 he was named executive director of Petroleum Engineering and Development. In August 2007 he was appointed acting business-line head of Exploration and Producing and within a year became senior vice-president of that department. He is the fourth Saudi national to head Aramco.
According to an Aramco statement, the decision to promote Nasser to CEO was made September 17th at the first official meeting of the Supreme Council, a body created by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in May and led by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
“Our continued success lies in carrying forward the firm foundations established by my predecessors and in the vast knowledge and capabilities of our employees who have enabled the company to make tremendous progress over the past eight decades,” Nasser said in a company release. “I am privileged to lead a remarkably talented team, whose skills and support will be so crucial to address the challenges of the future.”
The council also endorsed a five-year business plan and a capital-spending programme but did not provide details in its statement.
The appointment of Nasser comes at challenging time for Aramco and the oil industry, as producers have had to significantly cut back spending because of falling oil prices.
In an interview in March, Nasser said the oil industry could scrap or delay $1 trillion worth of projects but he also warned that extreme cuts within the industry could lead to shortages in talent and the development of technology in the future.
“We have seen how that approach to a spending crunch plays out. The reduced investment in technology and talent that characterised the 1980s and early 1990s should remind us that repercussions can be lasting,” Nasser said in March.
Saudi Aramco has crude reserves of 265 billion barrels, more than 15% of all global oil deposits. It produces more than 10 million barrels per day, three times as much as the world’s largest listed oil company, ExxonMobil, and its reserves are more than ten times larger.
If Aramco were to go public, it would probably become the first company to be valued at more than $1 trillion.
Saudi Arabia has been trying to diversify its economy and lessen its dependency on oil-based revenues and, because of the rising domestic consumption of crude oil used for generating electricity, the government has ventured into exploring alternative sources of power.
The energy sector is the backbone of the Saudi economy; however in the last year, global oil prices have fallen to about $49 a barrel, a stark contrast to June 2014 when prices peaked at $115 dollars a barrel.
The International Monetary Fund predicts that because of falling oil prices, Gulf Cooperation Council countries will lose an estimated $380 billion in export revenues.