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Ali Al-Naimi

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Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources
In office
2 August 1995 – 7 May 2016
MonarchsKing Fahd
King Abdullah
King Salman
Preceded byHisham Nazer
Succeeded byKhalid A. Al-Falih
President and CEO, Saudi Aramco
In office
Preceded byJohn Jacob Kelberer
Succeeded byAbdallah S. Jum'ah
Personal details
Born (1935-08-02) 2 August 1935 (age 88)
Ar-Rakah, Saudi Arabia
ChildrenReem, Rami, Nada, Mohammad
Residence(s)Dhahran, Saudi Arabia[1]
Alma materLehigh University
Stanford University

Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi (Arabic: علي بن إبراهيم النعيمي) (born 2 August 1935)[2] is a Saudi Arabian politician who was the Saudi Arabian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources from 1995 to 2016.[3]

Early life and education


Naimi was born in Ar-Rakah in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province. Born to Ibrahim, a pearl diver of the Al-Naimi tribe, and Fatima, a Bedouin of the Ajman, his parents became divorced during the pregnancy. As a consequence, Naimi was born into and lived the first eight years of his nomadic life with his mother's and stepfather's tribe. From the age of four, he tended the family's flock of lambs. His mother divorced his stepfather when Al-Naimi was eight, and Al-Naimi left the Ajmani tribe to live with his father in Al-Hasa.[4]

Naimi's older brother Abdullah was hired by Aramco in 1944, and attended the Jebel School run by the company. Abdullah took Ali along to the school, where they learned English, Arabic, and basic arithmetic in the mornings, then worked as office boys in the afternoon. Finally, on 6 December 1947, Ali was hired as a junior clerk, but still attended school in the mornings.[4]: 26–30, 36–37 

Under the training programs of Aramco, he studied at International College, Beirut, and the American University of Beirut, before attending Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he earned an Bachelor of Science degree in geology in 1962. He then earned a Master of Science degree in hydrology and economic geology at Stanford University.[5][6]

Naimi also attended advanced management courses at Columbia University in 1974 and Harvard University in 1979.[4]: 111 



After graduation, Naimi joined Aramco's exploration and production department as a geologist in 1964. He presented his first research paper, "The Groundwater of Northeastern Saudi Arabia", in 1965. In 1967, he spent a year in the public relations department, before being assigned as the senior supervising operator for the Abqaiq Field in 1968. There he used an innovative gas injection method to revive the Ain Dar, No. 17, well. On 1 April 1969, Ali was made superintendent, assistant manager in 1972, and then manager in 1973.[4]: 76, 82–89 

He was promoted to manager of Northern Area producing in 1974, which had responsibility for 11 of Aramco's 15 oil fields. On 1 May 1975, the Aramco board promoted Ali to be the vice president for producing and water injection. He was one of the leaders that initiated seawater injection as a replacement for well water. He was named president of Aramco Overseas Company before becoming a senior vice president in July 1978.[4]: 93, 95–96, 105, 107–108  Al Naimi was elected a member of board of directors in 1980 and was promoted to the newly created position of executive vice-president of oil and gas affairs in 1981. He was named president of Saudi Aramco in November 1983,[7] being the first Saudi to hold that position. In 1988 Al-Naimi assumed responsibilities as CEO.[4]: 122, 143 

He became the minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources on 2 August 1995 (his 60th birthday), replacing Hisham Nazer.[5] Al-Naimi became the first oil executive to hold the office. He was succeeded by Abdullah S. Jum'ah as CEO of Aramco.[4]: 190–194 

Also in 1995, Naimi received an honorary doctorate from Heriot-Watt University[8]

In December 2010, the Saudi Supreme Petroleum Council, chaired by King Abdullah, asked Naimi to nominate candidates to succeed him as oil minister.[9]

In November 2014, still serving as Saudi oil minister and therefore the de facto leader of OPEC, Naimi became the primary advocate for the export organization's controversial new strategy. He argued that the oil market should be left to rebalance itself at lower price levels, strategically rebuilding OPEC's long-term market share by ending the profitability of high-cost US shale oil production.[10] In 2016 he announced that in the next years more investment will be made in renewable energy and solar technology, as he sees great potential in this area.[11] Naimi completed his service as oil minister in May 2016, as deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman took on a stronger role in Saudi oil policy.[3] Naimi was replaced by former executive at state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco Khaled Al-Falih.[12][13]

In 2016 Naimi published his memoirs with the title Out of the Desert. The book gives insight into the domestic infighting and the future of Saudi Aramco.[14]

Other positions


Naimi is chairman of the board of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).[6]



King Salman named Al-Naimi adviser to the Royal Court.[4]: 290  Ali received an honorary degree from Seoul National University and there is an A. I. Naimi Road at S-Oil's Onsan refining complex.[4]: 171–172  Naimi was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2008.[6] In 2011, he was included in the inaugural 50 Most Influential ranking by Bloomberg Markets magazine.[15] His autobiography was published in November 2016.[16]


  1. ^ "Powerful People: #50 Ali Al-Naimi". Forbes. Archived from the original on 5 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Press Background Information" (PDF). OPEC. 4 December 2013. p. 12. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Saudi Arabia just fired its oil minister". CNN. 8 May 2016. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Al-Naimi, Ali (2016). Out of the Desert. Great Britain: Portfolio Penguin. pp. xv, 5, 7, 10–11. ISBN 9780241279250.
  5. ^ a b "Ali Ibrahim Al Na'imi". APS Review Oil Market Trends. Arab Press Service. 24 October 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "Saudi Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi to speak at commencement". Lehigh University. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources". SAMIRAD. Archived from the original on 9 October 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Honorary Graduates" (PDF). Heriot-Watt University. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Saudi considers Naimi's successor as oil minister". Reuters. 10 December 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  10. ^ "Inside OPEC room, Naimi declares price war on US shale oil". Reuters. 28 November 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  11. ^ RN Bhaskar (23 April 2016). "Is the fear of bankruptcy forcing Saudi Arabia switch to solar power biz/ Wait for 25 April". Firstpost. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  12. ^ Gregory Brew (9 September 2019). "A New Hand on the Wheel: Changes in the Saudi Energy Leadership". The Fuse. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  13. ^ Gaurav Sharma (9 May 2016). "Saudi Oil Minister's Exit Does Not Herald Change In OPEC Policy Stance". Forbes. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  14. ^ Dmitry Zhdannikov (4 November 2016). "Saudi Naimi's battles against Western 'greed' shine light on Aramco IPO". Reuters. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  15. ^ "The 50 Most Influential People in Global Finance". Bloomberg Markets. 7 September 2011. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  16. ^ Al-Naimi, Ali (2016). Out of the Desert: My Journey From Nomadic Bedouin to the Heart of Global Oil. Penguin. ISBN 978-0241279250.