Saudi Arabia announced on October 16th that the Supreme Petroleum Council for Petroleum and Mineral Affairs (SCPM) will be given the powers of the Higher Council of state oil company Saudi Aramco.
A statement issued following the weekly cabinet meeting to approve the change said that after "discussing recommendations to amend bylaws of Saudi Aramco in accordance with the formation of the Supreme Petroleum Council, the cabinet decided that the Supreme Petroleum Council would take over the powers of the Higher Council of Aramco."
The SCPM was formed in January to oversee oil and natural gas policies and is headed by King Fahd bin Abdul-Aziz. The formation of the new council appeared to solidify the decision-making role and the growing influence in the country's prized oil sector of Crown Prince Abdullah bin abdul-Aziz, heir to the Saudi throne.
By overseeing more of Saudi Aramco's operations, the SCPM brings the state oil company even more closely under the government's umbrella.
The SCPM, which sets the country's production levels and approves Aramco's pricing plans, has been given the mandate over the next four years to review and approve all investments and developments in the kingdom's oil and gas sector, including proposals made by foreign companies intent on gaining entry into the Gulf country's upstream industry and the concessionary agreements in the Neutral Zone. Saudi Aramco's board of directors reports to the Higher Council of the company, which is also headed by King Fahd.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)