Minister of the Year
Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia
Having long been one of the oil industry's most influential figures, 2017 has been a year in which Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources has shown exceptional leadership.
Also holding the position of chairman of Saudi Aramco, Al-Falih has steered the world's largest oil exporter to the heart of negotiations to help rebalance the oil market.
Al-Falih has spearheaded the historic deal between Opec, and some of the world's largest oil producers outside of the group, to restrict their crude output to help speed up market rebalancing.
His influence has been felt acutely. Saudi Arabia's decision in the summer of 2017 to cut exports, as well as its production, has been credited with one of the key factors which have helped to draw down OECD oil inventories from historic highs. And the kingdom's compliance to the cuts deal has far exceeded its obligations.
Meanwhile, the kingdom is undergoing unprecedented changes, both in its leadership and its energy policy.
Steered by Saudi Arabia's new Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's longer-term journey promises economic reform and a gradual weaning off its dependence on oil. For now, Al-Falih's focus on oil-market fundamentals—and continuing to draw down stocks-are continuing to have a vitally important impact on the market's road to rebalancing.