Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest state-owned oil producer, and its smaller counterparts in the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar, may not be accountable to shareholders, but the demands of their sovereign masters have forced a rethink of their traditional business models in a lower oil price environment.

The Saudi state-owned giant led the way with a shakeup earlier this year that saw the removal of Oil Minister Ali Naimi as Chairman and the transfer of CEO Khalid al-Falih to the health ministry. The appointment of Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the king’s youngest son and rising star, as head of a 10-member Supreme Petroleum Council for Saudi Aramco, effectively put the young prince in charge of both energy and economic policy. (CONTINUED - 2496 WORDS)