General Secretary OPEC Nigerian oil cartel Mohammed Barkindo has died unexpectedly at the age of 63, the Nigerian National Oil Corporation said on Wednesday.
“We have lost our esteemed Dr. Muhammad Sanusi Barkindo. He died around 11 pm yesterday, July 5, 2022,” NNPC Executive Director Mele Kyari tweeted, without providing any further details about the circumstances of Barkindo’s death, just hours after the head of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries met with Nigerian President in Abuja.
“Of course, this is a great loss for his immediate family, NNPC, our country Nigeria, OPEC and the global energy community. The funeral will be announced soon,” Kyari wrote.
“This tragedy comes as a shock to the OPEC family,” the Vienna-based Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries tweeted.
“We express our sorrow and deep gratitude for more than 40 years of selfless service that … Barkindo gave to OPEC. His dedication and leadership will inspire OPEC for years to come.”
Just hours earlier, Barkindo had met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, where Buhari praised “Barkindo’s outstanding achievements in OPEC”.
“You were able to successfully lead the organization through tumultuous trials,” the president said.
Barkindo has led OPEC since 2016 and was scheduled to be replaced by Kuwaiti Haytham Al-Ghais next month.
The general secretary of the cartel does not have any executive power, but is the public face of OPEC and is often forced to act as a diplomat to bring together the various, sometimes conflicting, interests of various member countries.
Under Barkindo’s leadership, OPEC has forged ties with 10 other oil-producing nations, such as Russia, to form a broader group known as OPEC+ in an attempt to better rein in global oil prices shaken by the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and, more recently, war. in Ukraine.