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Former Saudi oil minister Yamani, the face of 1973 oil embargo, dies at 90

Published : Tuesday, 23 February, 2021 at 7:27 PM  Count : 112

Sheikh Zaki Yamani had extricated the Saudi oil industry from the grip of American companies.

Sheikh Zaki Yamani had extricated the Saudi oil industry from the grip of American companies.

Saudi Arabia's Sheikh Zaki Yamani, the embodiment of the ascent of Arab petroleum power and the face of the 1973 oil embargo that brought the West to its knees, has died, reports Reuters from Dubai.

Sheikh Yamani was a witness to the 1975 murder of the Saudi King who had plucked him, a non-royal, from obscurity to be oil minister. Later in the same year, Sheikh Yamani was kidnapped at an Opec meeting by Venezuelan Ilyich Ramirez Sanchez, better known as Carlos the Jackal, once one of the world's most wanted criminals.

Sheikh Yamani, 90, died in London, Saudi state media reported on Tuesday (Feb 23).

Known for his elegant manner and trademark goatee beard, Sheikh Yamani's 24-year tenure running the oil affairs of the world's biggest crude producer made him a global celebrity during the inflationary "oil shocks" of the 1970s.

That ended with his abrupt sacking in 1986 after a costly attempt to prop up crude prices - a failed strategy which has cast a shadow over Saudi oil policy to this day.

In December 1975, he attended the meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) in Vienna, which ended in a hail of bullets fired into the ceiling from assassin Carlos and five cohorts. Three bystanders were killed.


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