Mohammad Barkindo, OPEC Secretary-General, Dies at 63

Mohammad Barkindo, the veteran of the oil sector who led OPEC through the formation of the OPEC+ alliance, passed away June 5, in his home country – Nigeria. He was 63.

Barkindo, who oversaw the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ secretariat in Vienna for six years, was nearing the end of his career in diplomacy. In order to prepare for a job after OPEC, he had returned to Abuja.

He was scheduled to join the Atlantic Council as an emeritus member of the Global Energy Center once his tenure at OPEC expired, according to people close to the deceased.

Barkindo, who was born on April 20, 1959, attended political science coursework in Oxford and Washington. He worked for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation from 1992 till he took over as president in 2009.

In 1986, he was chosen to represent Nigeria in OPEC, and in 2016, he was named the organization’s secretary general. The Kuwaiti Haitham Al-Ghais was supposed to take his place in August.

Immediately following his inauguration in the summer of 2016, Barkindo presided over one of the most volatile periods in the organization’s history, which began with the formation of the OPEC+ alliance.

The Nigerian engaged in a flurry of shuttle diplomacy to forge the previously inconceivable alliance with non-members, personally pleading with leaders like Vladimir Putin of Russia.

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His administration included a number of production cuts meant to maintain the equilibrium of the world’s oil markets, which culminated in the historically low levels of production during the Covid-19 epidemic in 2020.

Barkindo was frequently essential in reducing tensions within the fractious alliance thanks to his affable and cheery demeanour and his love of donning indigenous headgear while visiting OPEC+ member countries.

The oil and gas business is “under siege,” according to Barkindo, who made this statement in Abuja hours before he passed away. He also noted that the industry is still reeling from the huge investment losses of recent years.

“In a very short timespan, the industry has been hit by two major cycles — the severe market downturn in 2015 and 2016, and the even more far-reaching impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Barkindo said.

“Serving as Secretary General of OPEC for two terms has been the honor of a lifetime. Over the past six years, we have witnessed both challenging and historic moments, which have underscored time and again the importance of cooperation and teamwork,” he added.

Tweet from Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Ltd

“You have indeed been a worthy ambassador of our country. We are proud of your achievements before and during your appointment at OPEC and the proud legacies you will leave behind. Your time in charge of the affairs of OPEC has been a very challenging one for the global oil industry,” said Nigerian President Muhammad Buhari praising the Secretary-General after his demise.

Source: News Agencies

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