Qatar promotes Al-Attiyah; appoints Al-Sada as energy minister

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 18 -- Qatar’s Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani has promoted Energy Minister Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah to chief of staff, and has named his successor as Mohammed Saleh al-Sada.

Al-Attiyah became Qatar’s energy minister in 1992 and served a 1-year term as president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in 1993. In 2007, Al-Attiyah was appointed deputy premier while retaining his position as minister of energy and industry.

During his 19-year tenure as minister of energy and industry, Al-Attiyah oversaw Qatar’s development into the world’s premier exporter of LNG from a country that had been reliant on oil exports of 480,000 b/d in 1992.

Indeed, Al-Attiyah’s promotion came as Qatar prepared to begin operating the last of its 14 liquefied gas plants, a milestone that marks a 15% increase in its capacity to produce LNG.

Samuel Ciszuk, senior Middle East energy analyst at IHS Global Insight in London, said Al-Attiyah’s new role in the Emir’s court may reflect his achievements as energy minister.

“It is a clear promotion,” the analyst said. “He goes to become one of the trusted advisers. The head of the Emiri Diwan is a very important position in the GCC states.”

Ciszuk also said that Al-Sada’s appointment may be seen as a reward for his having been a good administrator.

“The energy portfolio will change because there won’t be the same brilliant growth,” Ciszuk said. “It will focus more on administrating what they have rather than growing and formulating new policies.”

Mohammed Saleh Al-Sada served as Minister of State for Energy and Industry Affairs after his appointment in 2007. Prior to that appointment, Al-Sada served as managing director of RasGas Co. Ltd.

The appointment placed Al-Sada in a key position regarding Qatar’s gas industry as RasGas is the operating company for Ras Laffan LNG Co. Ltd., Ras Laffan LNG Co. Ltd. (II), and Ras Laffan LNG Co. Ltd. (III).

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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