Energy News Today

Ahmed Zaki Yamani, Former Saudi Oil Minister, Dies at 90

He and his first wife, Laila Sulaiman Faidhi, were married in 1955 and had two daughters, Mai and Maha, and a son, Hani. His second wife was Tamam al-Anbar; they were married in 1975 and had two daughters, Sarah and Arwa, and three sons, Faisal, Sharaf and Ahmed. In addition to his daughter Mai, Mr. Yamani is survived by his second wife, his other children, 24 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

In 1958, the royal family enlisted Mr. Yamani to advise Crown Prince Faisal, and his rise was rapid. In a year he was a minister of state without portfolio, and by 1962 oil minister. In 1963, he and Aramco jointly founded a Saudi College of Petroleum and Minerals, to teach oil industry expertise to Arab students.

After his dismissal as oil minister, Mr. Yamani became a consultant, an entrepreneur and an investor and settled in Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland. In 1982 he joined other financiers in Investcorp, a Bahrain-based private equity firm. And in 1990 he founded the Center for Global Energy Research, a London market analysis group.

A tall man with thoughtful eyes and a Van Dyke goatee, Mr. Yamani struck Westerners as gracious, shrewd and tenacious.

“He speaks softly and never pounds the table,” one American oil executive told The New York Times. “When discussions get hot, he gets more patient. In the end, he gets his way with what seems to be sweet reasonableness, but is a kind of toughness.”

Ben Hubbard and Alex Traub contributed reporting.

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2021-02-23 17:21:43

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