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Legacy Award, 2016: Ali Al Naimi

Al Naimi’s influence on global oil markets over the decades has been unquestionable. In the year in which Naimi stepped down as Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, it is fitting that his work be recognised. Naimi’s determination in bettering the field, both domestically and across international markets, will surely be felt for years to come.

Over the duration of his 20 years as oil minister, Naimi arguably became the most influential voice in world energy markets, helping to steer Opec through some of its most tumultuous times.

At the young age of 12 he started work as an errand runner at Aramco. An American executive saw promise and recommended that he be educated in the US, and after graduating from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, Naimi went on to study at Stanford University. Following this, he re-joined Aramco, rapidly moving up through the ranks at the organisation.

He was made Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources in 1995. The appointment was heralded within the industry as symbolic of the country’s newfound professionalism and desire to be seen as a leading and stabilising force in the oil business.

His decisions as oil minister over the years have shaped the industry. In 1997, he had to fight hard to fend off the slump in the wake of the Asian financial crisis, when the price of oil slipped to less than $10 a barrel, and again, in 2008, when the global financial crisis hit. In both these instances he was instrumental in stabilising the industry.

A determined and charismatic character, Naimi’s decisions and influence on the market have seldom been overlooked. His policies have helped maintain Saudi Arabia as a leading energy voice, and in turn shaped oil and gas markets over the last few decades.

Kuppusamy Uthaman of Kuwait Oil Company was also nominated for this award

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