OPEC Outgoing Scribe, Mohammad Barkindo, Dies at 63

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Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, outgoing secretary-general of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is dead.

Barkindo, 63, died at 11pm last night, and hours after a short reception from President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.

A lavish reception, as directed by President Buhari, was awaiting the late OPEC boss at the end month when his tenure at OPEC would finally end.     

The managing director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Limited, Mele Kyari confirmed Barkindo’s in a tweet.

“Certainly a great loss to his immediate family, the NNPC, our country Nigeria, the OGPEC and the global energy community,” Kyari said, adding that “burial arrangements will be announced shortly.”

The late OPEC secretary general was among dignitaries who delivered speeches at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas conference in Abuja.  The cause of the death was yet to be ascertained at the time of this report.

Before his death, during a short reception at Aso Rock, Abuja, President Buhari described Barkindo’s six-year tenure as challenging, due to issues that were crippling the oil market and COVID-19 pandemic that sent crude prices spiraling down at an alarming rate.

Buhari, had declared however that posterity will smile on Barkindo for demonstrating leadership which helped to rally industry players and pushed through the turbulent times.

The president said posterity will remember him kindly for making the nation and himself proud during his six years of meritorious service at the helm of affairs as the 4th OPEC Secretary-General from Nigeria.

President Buhari reportedly directed the ministry of petroleum resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to mobilise the oil and gas industry to organise a befitting welcome reception in his honour.

Barkindo’s unexpected death came as a shock to members of the oil and gas world, many of whom describe him as a giant in the industry.

His career spanned over four decades and included work at Nigeria’s National Petroleum Corporation,  Duke Oil, Nigeria’s foreign ministry and energy ministry, as well as OPEC.

Since taking the helm as secretary-general of OPEC in 2016, Barkindo oversaw tumultuous times for the oil producer group, which witnessed volatile markets rocked by historic events, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the creation of the OPEC+ alliance with Russia and other non-OPEC states, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

While the organization lost two members, Qatar and Ecuador, during that time, Barkindo is nonetheless credited with guiding unity among the group’s members in an effort to stabilize global oil markets.

Barkindo had just been awarded a distinguished fellowship at the Atlantic Council, set to begin upon the completion of his term at OPEC on July 31.

Atlantic Council CEO Frederick Kempe had previously described Barkindo as having “unparalleled expertise on oil markets, security, and governance” and “a deep understanding of geopolitics in a volatile world.”

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