Oil: Death of Nigeria’s Mohammed Barkindo, outgoing OPEC secretary general

By Jeune Afrique
Posted on Wednesday, 6 July 2022 18:00

Mohammed Barkindo in Abu Dhabi on 8 January 2020. © Kamran Jebreili/AP/SIPA

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced today that its Nigeria secretary general, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, died.

The news came hours after a meeting in Abuja with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, who praised Barkindo’s “brilliant work” at OPEC, where “he successfully navigated through turbulent waters”.

The death of Mohammed Barkindo comes as his term as OPEC secretary general was due to end on 31 July. According to sources close to the deceased, he was to join the Atlantic Council as an emeritus member of the Global Energy Center once his term at OPEC was over.

A rich career

Born on 20 April 1959, Barkindo studied political science and completed courses in Oxford and Washington. From 1992 onwards, he held various positions within the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which he began running in 2009. He was appointed Nigeria’s delegate to OPEC in 1986 and became its secretary general in 2016. He was to be replaced in August by the Kuwait’s Haitham Al-Ghais.

Under Barkindo’s leadership, OPEC joined with 10 other countries, including Russia, in an OPEC+ agreement signed in 2016 to regulate the market. While the group was losing influence with the rise of shale oil in the United States, the alliance notably allowed producers to limit their oil production following the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. That effort has brought prices back up after a severe market shock in April 2020.

However, since the start of the war in Ukraine, which caused prices to soar, OPEC+ has struggled to pump more to keep prices down and has come under criticism and pressure from consuming countries, particularly the United States.

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