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Oil prices rise on the death of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz

23rd January 2015

The death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz early this morning has caused a dollar-plus spike in oil prices as investors speculate on whether OPEC’s leading member nation is set to change its policy over crude oil production levels

The death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz early this morning has caused a dollar-plus spike in oil prices as investors speculate on whether OPEC’s leading member nation is set to change its policy over crude oil production levels
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz began his reigned in 2005 following the death of his half-brother King Fahd, and was one of the world's most powerful people. Source: Wikipedia Commons

The 90-year-old King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died early this morning at 1:00am in a Riyadh hospital, having been admitted weeks ago with a severe lung infection.

His half-brother has now succeeded him as King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

“We will, with God’s support, maintain the straight path that this country has advanced on since its establishment by the late King Abdulaziz,” the new king said in a speech broadcast on state television.

Brent crude rose USD 1.18 to USD 49.70 a barrel, a 2.4 per cent rise, after the king’s death was officially announced.

Saudi Arabia has led OPEC in its policy of maintaining oil production levels despite the price drop in order to safeguard its share of the global crude market place.

Analyst now watch whether the new ruler of Saudi Arabia will keep current oil minister Ali al-Naimi in his post, or replace him with someone favouring a change in production policy.

This follows yesterday’s tit-for-tat at the World Economic Forum in Davos where non-OPEC member Oman, as well as oil majors Eni and Total, blamed the unrepentant oil cartel for causing the massive drop in oil prices following its decision not to cut production levels in November.

"If we had cut in November we would have to cut again and again as non-OPEC would be increasing production," OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri said in Davos.

"Everyone tells us to cut. But I want to ask you, do we produce at higher cost or lower costs? Let's produce the lower cost oil first and then produce the higher cost," Badri said.

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