Market Insider

Meet the man who could be the next ruler of oil market

Khalid Al-Falih
SeongJoon Cho | Bloomberg | Getty Images

There's no one individual who has the power to shake the world oil markets quite like Ali al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia's octogenarian oil minister.

So the replacement of al-Naimi as chairman of state-owned Aramco with its former CEO Khalid al-Falih is being read as a signal by oil traders that he could now be the front runner for oil minister when al-Naimi retires. He was also named to the post of health minister in a series of key appointments by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, which included a sweeping succession plan with a new generation in line.

"First of all, al-Naimi, the oil minister, is remaining in his seat, but what's interesting is you now have a new chairman of Aramco. They moved up the former chief executive and people are saying this new chairman could become the next oil minister," said Helima Croft, head of commodity strategy at RBC.