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It's Official: Nazer to Stay as Saudi Oil Chief

December 25, 1986|From Reuters

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Hisam Nazer, the acting Saudi oil minister since Ahmed Zaki Yamani was dismissed in October, has been formally appointed to the post, the official Saudi Press Agency reported Wednesday.

It said King Fahd issued a decree appointing Nazer as minister of petroleum and mineral resources and acting planning minister.

King Fahd, speaking to university students in the city of Jubail, said Saudi Arabia had been badly hit by depressed oil prices and would stand firm on the Geneva OPEC agreement restricting output. "The kingdom saw a serious situation in the past two years because of the fall of oil prices," the king was quoted.

Nazer, 54, had been the Saudi planning minister since 1975. He took over from Yamani on Oct. 29. Wednesday's statement suggested that a permanent planning minister would be named later.

UCLA Graduate

Nazer, who was educated at UCLA and still owns a home in Beverly Hills, led the Saudi team at the recent OPEC meeting in Geneva, where delegates said he defended King Fahd's prestige by pushing through output cuts to help boost world oil prices.

Saudi Arabia was architect of the OPEC accord announced last Saturday to return to a fixed pricing policy and to cut total group output by 7.26% to 15.8 million barrels per day for the first six months of 1987.

King Fahd said oil prices might rise above $18 a barrel if the OPEC states keep to their agreed quotas.

Oil prices plummeted by more than 50% from November, 1985, to May, 1986, due largely to high production by Saudi Arabia.

No Surprise

The cartel's goal was to regain its share of the world oil market by pushing out producers with higher costs. The architect of the plan was Yamani.

One well-connected industry analyst said of Nazer's appointment: "I am not surprised. The king was quite pleased by how things went at the OPEC conference."

Diplomatic sources said the king's apparent decision to appoint Nazer as full minister was in line with Saudi tradition. "They (the Saudis) do not like constant changes, and it is hard to see them replacing Nazer with another face," said one source.

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