By Solomon Asowata
Dr Mohammed Barkindo, the Secretary-General, Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), is dead.
Mr Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), confirmed the development in a statement posted on his official Twitter page on Wednesday.
“We lost our esteemed Dr Mohammed S Barkindo. He died at about 11.00 p.m. on Tuesday.
“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 said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Barkindo, who is the outgoing OPEC secretary general, was in Nigeria where he delivered the Chairman keynote address at the ongoing Nigerian Oil and Gas Conference (NOG) in Abuja on Tuesday.
At his last official outing at the NOG, Barkindo was given a standing ovation by industry stakeholders for his outstanding contributions to the Nigerian and global oil and gas industry.
He had earlier in the day visited President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa where he was hailed by the president for being a “worthy ambassador to Nigeria.”
Born on April 20,1959 in Yola, Adamawa, Barkindo served as the Secretary General of OPEC since Aug. 1, 2016 and would have bowed out on July 31, 2022 following the completion of his tenure.
He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, in 1981 and Masters of Business Administration degree 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 honorary doctorate from the Federal University of Technology Yola.
Barkindo previously served as the acting Secretary-General in 2006 and represented Nigeria on OPEC’s Economic Commission Board from 1993 to 2008.
He also led the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation during 2009 to 2010 and headed Nigeria’s technical delegation to UN climate negotiations since 1991.
Barkindo will be replaced by Mr Haitham Al-Ghais, a veteran of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), as the organisation’s Secretary-General following his demise.
In a tribute to Barkindo on his contributions to the global energy industry, OPEC said he was instrumental in expanding the organisation’s historical efforts to support sustainable oil market stability.
“This was through enhanced dialogue and cooperation with many energy stakeholders, including the landmark Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) since its inception in December 2016.
“These efforts are widely credited with helping to stabilise the global oil market since the unprecedented market downturn related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and providing a platform for recovery, “OPEC said in the statement posted on its website.
The statement noted that before being appointed the Secretary-General, Barkindo held a number of key roles at OPEC between 1986 and 2010, including as acting Secretary-General in 2006.
“He is known internationally for helping to produce the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto protocol as the leader of Nigeria’s technical delegation to the UN negotiations in 1991.
“He has remained a key contributor to the UNFCCC process, including most recently at the 26th Conference of Parties (COP) meeting in Glasgow in October and November 2021,” it said.