Home » Nigerian politician and OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo dies at 63

Nigerian politician and OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo dies at 63

by Omokolade Ajayi

Mohammad Barkindo, a Nigerian politician and the outgoing secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has died at the age of 63, just days before his term was set to end. OPEC is an intergovernmental organization, comprising 13 oil-producing countries.

Barkindo’s death was announced Wednesday morning by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Managing Director Mele Kyari and confirmed by OPEC sources, stunned leaders, politicians, and businesspeople operating in the energy sector, particularly the oil and gas industry.

“We lost our esteemed Muhammad Sanusi Barkindo. He died at about 11 p.m. yesterday, July 5, 2022. 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 tweeted.

Barkindo, who became OPEC’s secretary-general in 2016, had a glamorous career in the oil and gas industry, serving in various capacities both locally and internationally.

He also spent over 24 years working in various capacities for the NNPC.

His death comes at a critical juncture in history, with volatile energy markets, global inflation, growing climate risks, and the continuing fallout from COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war, all of which have resulted in tighter oil supplies, pushing prices to multi-year highs amid fears of an international recession.

Prior to his death, Barkindo chaired the OPEC Task Force of the Fifteenth Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and spearheaded the OPEC/EU Dialogue on Energy Markets, Taxation, and the Environment.

He is credited with developing the first long-term strategy at OPEC. He was also a founding delegate to the formation of the African Petroleum Producers Association in Algiers, Algeria, in 1986.

From 1987 to 2010, he also served as a delegate to APPA Ministerial Conferences, and he was a founding member of the International Energy Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

While OPEC lost two members during his tenure as secretary-general, Qatar and Ecuador, Barkindo is credited with fostering unity among the group’s members in an effort to stabilize global oil markets.

He also contributed to the strengthening and consolidation of OPEC/non-OPEC cooperation and dialogue on climate change and led Nigeria’s technical delegations to the climate change negotiations that resulted in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC since their inception in 1991.

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