AL-KUWAIT, January 23. /TASS/. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah died at the age of 90 on Friday, according to Saudi state TV.
His successor is 79-year-old half-brother, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, who was appointed crown prince in June 2012.
Prince Salman is the 25th son of Abdul Aziz, known as Ibn Saud, who was the first monarch of Saudi Arabia. Prince Muqrin has been named crown prince.
King Abdullah, one of the world’s most powerful people, assumed the throne in 2005 as the country's sixth king after the death of his half-brother, King Fahd.
The monarch was taken to a hospital in Al Riyadh on December 31, where he underwent treatment. Early this month, the royal office said the head of state had lung infection.
The leaders from world countries and international organizations have sent their condolences to the people and authorities of Saudi Arabia.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement: “As the driving force behind the Arab Peace Initiative, King Abdullah left a tangible legacy that can still point the way toward peace in the Middle East.”
Following the news, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil futures for March delivery gained as much as $1.45 to $47.76 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, Bloomberg reported.
“The market is reacting bullishly to this news because it may usher in a period of uncertainty as far as Saudi policies going forward as new leadership takes over,” said Andy Lipow, the president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC, a consulting firm based in Houston, Texas.
Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude exporter, led the decision of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in late November to keep a daily oil production quota at the level of 30 million barrels, which sent oil prices further down.