Kuwait Names Finance Minister Anas al-Saleh as New Oil Minister.
Kuwait on Sunday replaced its oil minister just days before the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is scheduled for a potentially contentious meeting over production.
Kuwait appointed Anas al-Saleh as acting oil minister, replacing Ali Al-Omair, who became minister of public affairs and retained his role as state minister for parliamentary affairs, according to an official decree.
The royal decree, published by the state-controlled news agency, didn’t give a reason for the move.
A person familiar with the matter said the decision came after Mr. Omair faced opposition following his attempts to introduce changes to the management structure of state oil companies.
Mr. Omair last month swapped the chiefs of Kuwait Oil Company and Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company, a move that prompted criticism in the Kuwaiti press.
Mr. Saleh is currently the finance minister, a position he retains. Mr. Omair had been oil minister since January 2014.
Kuwait frequently reshuffles its cabinet, but replacing oil ministers usually doesn’t affect the country’s energy policy, which is set by the Supreme Petroleum Council.
OPEC meets on Friday in Vienna to decide whether to keep producing at current near-record levels or cut back as prices remain below $45 a barrel. Kuwait has supported the current policy of pumping full out to maintain market share.
Kuwait is currently producing about 2.8 million barrels a day of crude oil, a level which it says can sustain for a long period.
The Persian Gulf state’s capacity currently stands at 3.1 million barrels a day, but experts sometimes question whether pumping at maximum production capacity can be sustained for a long time.