A general view shows the Saudi Aramco oil facility in Dammam city, 450 kms east of the Saudi capital Riyadh, 23 November 2007. AFP PHOTO/Hassan Ammar
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Saudi Arabia is restructuring Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest energy company, in a move apparently aimed at letting it operate more at arm's length from the powerful Oil Ministry.However, some said the restructuring might be only the first step in a shake-up of the Saudi energy sector, and possibly pave the way for a prince to take over the ministry itself, which is traditionally run by technocrats rather than members of the royal family.However, Ehsan Ul-Haq, oil analyst at KBC Energy Economics, said it was highly likely that Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, a son of the King Salman, could be appointed to replace Naimi, the 79-year-old technocrat oil minister.King Salman promoted Prince Abdulaziz, long a member of Saudi Arabia's OPEC delegation, to deputy oil minister earlier this year from assistant oil minister, a post he had held for many years. The Supreme Economic Council is a new body formed by King Salman earlier this year to replace the Supreme Petroleum Council, which used to help set the kingdom's oil policy.
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