OPEC Secretary General

OPEC’s Barkindo passes away suddenly

Mohammad Barkindo, a Nigerian politician and the secretary general of oil producer group OPEC, died suddenly aged 63 just a month before he was scheduled to be replaced by Kuwait’s Haitham Al-Ghais.

The reason for his death which occured late Tuesday was not immediately known.

“We lost our esteemed Dr (Mohammad) Sanusi Barkindo. He died at about 11:00 pm yesterday 5th July 2022,” the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) chief executive Mele Kyari tweeted. “Certainly a great loss to his immediate family, the NNPC, our country Nigeria, the OPEC and the global energy community. Burial arrangements will be announced shortly,” Kyari wrote.

Barkindo was in his native Nigeria to attend an energy summit in Abuja where he gave a speech warning that “the oil and gas industry globally is under siege”  and still reeling from the enormous investment losses of recent years.

Born in Yola, Nigeria, Barkindo completed his bachelor’s degree in political science from Ahmadu Bello University (Zaria, Nigeria) in 1981 and a MBA in Finance and Banking, from Washington University in 1991. Prior to MBA, in 1988 he earned a postgraduate diploma in Petroleum Economics from Oxford University. Also, he was awarded an Hon Doctorate Degree in Science (Honoris Causa), Modibbo Adama, from Federal University of Technology, Yola.

With a career spanning four decades, Barkindo’s prolific work included positions at the NNPC, international oil trading company, Duke Oil, Nigeria’s Foreign Ministry and Energy Ministry and OPEC.

He led OPEC since 2016. He was the fourth Nigerian to hold the position. Under his stewardship, the Vienna-based organization forged ties with 10 other oil producing countries, such as Russia, to form a wider group known as OPEC+ in a bid to better tame global oil prices.Barkindo was often key in easing tensions inside the fractious alliance. 

After leaving OPEC the Nigerian veteran was due to join US think tank the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center as a distinguished fellow, the Council recently announced.

The 13 OPEC member-states have 1.24 billion proven crude oil reserves among them, or 80% of the world’s share. Of the world’s total crude oil, OPEC producers’ share of that is just under 38%. OPEC member-states, however, contributed to around 48% of all world crude oil exports last year.