Energy Intelligence named H.E. Khalid A. Al-Falih, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Saudi Aramco), 2016 Energy Intelligence Petroleum Executive of the Year.
He was chosen by a selection committee made up of top global oil industry executives, and is the 20th winner of this highly regarded, peer-selected honor. The award will be presented to Al-Falih on 18 October, during the 37th Annual Oil & Money Conference in London.
“The selection of H.E. Khalid A. Al-Falih by his peers is a reflection of his strong leadership of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, during a period of dynamic growth and unprecedented challenges to the international petroleum industry,” said Thomas Wallin, editor-in-chief of Energy Intelligence.
Al-Falih was appointed chairman of the board of Saudi Aramco in April 2015. He joined the company in 1979 and has held a number of positions of increasing responsibility, including executive vice president of operations, and president and chief executive officer from January 2009 until April 2015.
Al-Falih led the expansion of Saudi Aramco’s oil production capacity through a number of upstream projects and also significantly increased its refining and petrochemical capabilities through a series of new world-class facilities. In addition, the company has continued to reliably supply international petroleum markets as the world’s largest exporter of crude oil, with direct sales to all main world markets, as well as supplying its own international refining and marketing partnerships.
Under his leadership, the company became a major natural gas producer as part of a strategy to reduce domestic use of liquid fuel for power generation and to drive economic growth and diversification. Al-Falih was also instrumental in Saudi Aramco’s emergence as a leading innovator and creator of advanced technology through the establishment of a network of research centers, both in the kingdom and internationally, in partnership with world-renowned academic and industry research institutions.
In the months leading up to the UN International Conference on Climate Change -- COP21 Paris -- Al-Falih played a leading role in the World Economic Forum-sponsored Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI), an industry-driven initiative that sought to catalyze practical, meaningful and technology-enabled actions to address climate change. In September 2014, Al-Falih spoke on behalf of the industry at the UN-sponsored Climate Summit in New York, where he called for collaboration and the sharing of best practices and technical solutions to address climate change and sustainable energy.
Al-Falih holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM). He was chair of the World Economic Forum Oil & Gas Community and served on many boards, including KFUPM International Advisory Board; J.P. Morgan International Council; Asia Business Council; International Business Council of the World Economic Forum; MIT Presidential CEO Advisory Board; Royal Academy of Engineering (Fellow); and Prince Mohammad bin Fahd University Board of Trustees. He is currently serving on the board of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (founding member) and on the American University of Sharjah Board of Trustees.
The selection process for the Energy Intelligence Petroleum Executive of the Year is administered by Energy Intelligence, which gathers nominations for the award from the heads of the 100 largest oil companies, as determined by the annual company rankings by Energy Intelligence, in the Energy Intelligence Top 100: Global NOC & IOC Rankings. Nominations are then voted on by a special selection committee made up of previous award winners and other senior oil executives.
Previous winners include Rex W. Tillerson of ExxonMobil (2015), Emilio Lozoya Austin of Pemex (2014), Peter Voser of Royal Dutch Shell (2013), Fu Chengyu of Sinopec (2012), José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo of Petrobras (2011), and Andrew Gould of Schlumberger (2010).
Image of Al-Falih, from Saudi Aramco.