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OPEC Secretary-General and Long-Standing Friend of ECP Mohammad Barkindo Has Passed Away

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H.E. Dr. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and long-standing friend of Energy Capital & Power, has passed away at the age of 63.

Announced by the Group Managing Director of Nigeria’s National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), H.E. Mele Kyari, in a tweet on 6 July, Barkindo’s death has come as a surprise to the international community, with his tenure as OPEC Secretary General having been scheduled to end on 31 July.

“We lost our esteemed Dr. Muhammad Sanusi Barkindo,” the tweet by Kyari read.

“He died at about 11pm yesterday 5th July 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,” stated H.E. Mele Kyari.

At the time of his death, Barkindo was in his native Nigeria to attend an energy summit in his country’s capital city of Abuja. Hours before his death, Barkindo was honored by Nigeria’s President, H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, at the country’s State House, during which time the President lauded Barkindo’s efforts as Secretary-General of OPEC.

“You have indeed been a worthy ambassador of our country. We are proud of your achievements before and during your appointment at OPEC and the proud legacies you will leave behind,” President Buhari said.

In a career spanning four decades, Barkindo’s prolific work included representing Nigeria on OPEC’s Economic Commission Board from 1993 to 2008, heading Nigeria’s technical delegation to the UN’s climate negotiations since 1991, as well having held positions at the NNPC; international oil trading company, Duke Oil; Nigeria’s Foreign Ministry and Energy Ministry; and, finally, having served OPEC as the organization’s Secretary-General since 1 August 2016.

H.E. Barkindo was the 28th Secretary-General for OPEC, and the fourth Nigerian to hold the position. Following the end of his tenure at OPEC, Barkindo was scheduled to have joined the nonpartisan U.S. think-tank organization, the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, as a distinguished fellow. 

He will be remembered for his esteemed service at OPEC, having overseen some of the most turbulent periods in the history of the organization spanning a series of production cuts, overseeing unprecedented reductions during the Covid-19 pandemic, and guiding unity amongst global oil producers in an effort to stabilize international oil markets through the creation of the OPEC+ alliance with several non-OPEC states.

Born on 20 April 1959, in the city of Yola, in Nigeria’s Adamawa State, Barkindo attended undergraduate university in his home-country before earning a post-graduate degree in petroleum economics from Oxford University in the UK and an MBA from Washington University in the U.S.

H.E. Barkindo will be buried in his hometown, leaving behind a wife and children. The circumstances surrounding Barkindo’s death remain unclear at this time.

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Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen

Matthew Goosen is a Video Editor and Content Writer at Energy Capital & Power. He holds an Honours Degree in Film and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town and is currently undergoing his Masters Degree. Born in Pretoria and raised internationally, he has been living in Cape Town since 2013.