Kuwait Oil Minister Leaves Post Days Before OPEC Meeting

  • Ali al-Omair appointed as public works minister in reshuffle
  • Finance Minister Anas Al-Saleh named acting oil minister

Kuwait named Deputy Prime Minister Anas Al-Saleh as acting oil minister to replace Ali al-Omair, who became minister of public affairs and retained his role as state minister for parliamentary affairs, according to an official decree.

The change comes days before al-Omair was due to represent Kuwait at the meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Dec. 4 to discuss the group’s production level amid a slump in prices due to a global glut. Earlier this month, al-Omair swapped the chief executive officers of state companies Kuwait Oil Co. and Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Co.

“The current Kuwait oil policy in OPEC will definitely not change as this new minister is only there temporarily until a new one is appointed,” said Abdulsamad al-Awadhi, who was Kuwait’s OPEC governor from 1980 to 2001.

Al-Saleh, born in 1972 and holder of a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Portland University in the U.S., is also finance minister, according to the website of the official news agency Kuna.

Kuwait is the fourth-biggest producer in OPEC and pumped 2.82 million barrels a day of crude in October, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Almost none of Kuwait’s oil ministers since 1990 was groomed in the oil industry for the job, al-Awadhi said by phone from London where is an independent analyst. “This situation must be fixed, and the oil minister should be someone with deep knowledge of the oil business.”

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