MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In April, the Saudi government approved a reform plan aimed at reducing economic dependence on oil revenues. Naimi, who had served as the country’s oil minister since 1995, has opposed cuts to Saudi Arabia’s oil production amid weak oil prices.
Chairman of the state-owned Aramco oil company Khalid al-Falih was appointed to replace Naimi by government decree. Falih has been described as a close ally of Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman.
Oil prices have plunged more than 60 percent from their peak of over $110 a barrel in June 2014 due to the global oil production outpacing the world’s demand.
Last month, major oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, held meeting on proposed freeze of oil outputs in a bid to stabilize the crude prices. The meeting, however, failed to yield any results.