Former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Mohammed Barkindo has emerged as the secretary-general of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.
Barkindo was nominated by the federal government for the position.
He served as acting secretary-general of OPEC in 2006, as well as representing Nigeria at the organisation.
A Nigerian oil technocrat, Barkindo was a front runner in the race to become the next secretary general of the OPEC.
This is due to rising tensions between OPEC leaders in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, which has prevented members from choosing candidates proposed by those countries.
He replaced Libya’s Abdalla Salem el-Badri who has been OPEC’s secretary-general for over nine years.
El-Badri was supposed to leave at the end of 2012, but his tenure was extended due to the fact that member countries of the organisation were unable to reach a consensus on his replacement.
OPEC delegates had previously mentioned that Nigeria or Angola were the most likely countries to produce the cartel’s leader because they were neutral in the group’s geopolitical disagreements.
It is worthy to note that the secretary-general is not a decision maker at OPEC.
Just like el-Badri, his key role will be brokering agreements and bridging differences between OPEC’s fractious members on production policies.
Barkindo started his career as a member of the Nigerian delegation to OPEC in 1986 when the late Dr Rilwanu Lukman was Minister of Petroleum Resources, then called Rilwanu Lukman’s right-hand man.
He later became the national representative for OPEC between 1993 and 2008.
Barkindo was the deputy managing director of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, a joint venture between NNPC, Shell Gas BV, Total and Eni, between 1993 and 2008.
He served as the acting secretary general of OPEC in 2006 after Edmund Dakour.
He also served as head of the NNPC’s London office, managing director of NNPC’s Oil and Gas Trading Division, NNPC group executive director, managing director, Hyson & Sons, group general manager, Corporate Investments, president, Duke Oil Inc, and President of NAPOIL Inc.
OPEC conference began on Wednesday as the world awaits the consensus of the meeting between OPEC oil ministers scheduled to take place in Vienna.
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the kingdom would not shock the oil market and would take a “gentle” approach as it wants long-term stability.
“(In the past) prices have shot up too high, they have shot down too low and have stayed too low for too long in my view.
“Everybody is very satisfied with the market. The market is rebalancing as we speak. Demand is extremely healthy and robust. Non-Opec supply is declining. Prices will respond to the rebalancing of the market,” Al-Falih told reporters in Vienna.
In his opening address, HE Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry and president of the OPEC Conference, said that, “Since we last met in Vienna on December 4, 2015, we have seen further volatility in the global oil market.
“The OPEC Reference Basket fell from around $38 per barrel in December 2015 to a low of just over $22 per barrel in mid-January 2016, before a steady climb saw the price rise above $40 per barrel by the end of April and then climb further in May.
“These recent price developments are welcome; particularly, with one eye on the industry’s future investment requirements.
“Global exploration and production spending fell by around 20 per cent last year, and a further 15 per cent drop is anticipated this year. This is a major concern for an industry that generally sees investments increasing year on year to sustain production.
“With regard to global economic growth, the story remains somewhat patchy. While the estimated 2016 growth of 3.1 per cent is higher than that of 2015, it has been revised down slightly since our December meeting.
“World oil demand this year remains healthy, with growth of over 1.2 million barrels per day. The majority of this will come from non-OECD countries, but OECD countries are also expected to see some growth in every quarter this year.”

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