After 20 years, OPEC bids farewell to Saudi oil chief who could move markets with just a few words

, Financial News

Ali Al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia's now former oil  minister, was the powerful voice of OPEC for 20 years.

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, the architect of the 2014 switch in OPEC policy that’s since roiled the energy market, companies and entire economies from Mexico to Nigeria, is leaving his post.

An 80-year-old who rose from modest Bedouin roots, al-Naimi headed the ministry for almost 21 years, steering the world’s largest crude exporter through wild price swings, regional wars, technological progress and the rise of climate change as a key policy concern.

“During my seven decades in the industry, I’ve seen oil at under $2 a barrel and $147, and much volatility in between,” al- Naimi told a gathering of the who’s who of the American oil industry in February in Houston. “I’ve witnessed gluts and scarcity. I’ve seen multiple booms and busts.”

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