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Yahoo BusinessDec 06, 2019
Saudi Prince's First OPEC Outing Brings Last-Minute Oil Surprise
(Bloomberg) -- Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman has attended OPEC meetings for three decades, but this was the first time he's been the star turn.For two days, Saudi Arabia's new oil minister appeared to have stage fright. As he shuttled between Vienna's ultra-luxury Park Hyatt hotel and the headquarters of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, he said almost nothing to the massed reporters ready to transcribe his every word.He set the tone for the entire meeting. Normally chatty officials said they couldn't talk. Ministers used backdoor entrances to their hotels. The traditional manic media scrum that opens the meeting was canceled.Then after two days of often fractious talks on the cartel's oil policy, he sprung two surprises at the closing press conference: Saudi Arabia will voluntarily cut supply deeper than the new deal requires, and the kingdom in gunning for a $2 trillion valuation for its newly public oil producer, Aramco.The two are linked. By trying to juice the oil market, he wants to do a favor for his half-brother, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who's staked his reputation on the $2 trillion figure. Saudi Aramco will start trading on Riyadh's Tadawul exchange on Wednesday with a value of about $1.7 trillion.Even before he was promoted by the crown prince in September, Abdulaziz was a fixture of the Saudi OPEC team for more than thirty years. He gained a reputation as a diplomat, able to bridge the political enmities between members that often have little in common other than an addiction to petrodollars.Although he's the ultimate Vienna insider, his first meeting in charge contrasted with his immediate predecessor, Khalid Al-Falih, a brainy but brus
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