Ahmed Zaki Yamani, Saudi Arabia’s long-serving oil minister who led the kingdom through the oil crisis of 1973 and the nationalization of its state energy business, and later found himself abducted by the assassin Carlos the Jackal, died in London. He had been 90.
On Tuesday, Saudi state television announced his death without stating any cause. It said he was going to be buried in Mecca, the holy city.
Known for his Western-style business suits and soft-spoken, measured tones, since his birth, Yamani has helped Saudi Arabia dominate the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Even today, the kingdom remains a heavyweight in the group and its choices spread through the oil industry, impacting prices from the barrel down to the pump.
“To the global oil industry, to politicians and senior civil servants, to journalists and to the world at large, Yamani became the representative, and indeed the symbol, of the new age of oil,” author Daniel Yergin wrote in his seminal book on the oil industry, The Prize.
“His visage, with his large, limpid, seemingly unblinking brown eyes and his clipped, slightly curved Van Dyke beard, became familiar the planet over.”