King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died early on Friday and his brother Salman became king of the world's top oil exporter. Salman named his half-brother Muqrin as heir and nephew Mohammed bin Nayef, 55, as Deputy Crown Prince, moving to forestall any succession crisis at a moment when Saudi Arabia faces unprecedented turmoil on its borders.
               
Saudi state television said King Salman intended to keep oil minister Ali al-Naimi in place, suggesting the country's oil policy would remain unchanged.
               
Brent crude futures were trading at USD 49.42 a barrel by 1215 GMT, up 90 cents. U.S. WTI crude futures were at USD 46.60, up 29 cents.
               
After seeing strong volatility and price falls earlier in January, oil markets have moved little this week, with Brent prices range-bound between USD 47.78 and USD 50.45 a barrel.
               
The new Saudi king is expected to continue an OPEC policy of keeping oil output steady to protect the cartel's market share from rival producers.
               
Abdullah's death comes amid some of the biggest shifts in oil markets in decades. Oil prices have fallen by almost 60 percent since peaking last June as soaring supplies of shale oil from North America have clashed with cooling demand.

To combat soaring output and falling prices, many oil exporters, such as Venezuela, wanted the 12-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut output in order to support prices and revenues. Yet, led by Saudi Arabia, OPEC announced last November it would keep output steady at 30 million barrels per day.

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