Tributes, as OPEC mourns Barkindo (20 April 1959 – 5 July, 2022)

… says its SG’s death is a shocking tragedy

Oredola Adeola

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says the death of its outgoing Secretary General, Mohammad Barkindo, is a profound loss and shocking tragedy to the entire OPEC Family, the oil industry and the international community.

The Organisation in a statement released on Wednesday said the Late Barkindo, who died on Tuesday in Nigeria, was the much-loved leader of the OPEC Secretariat.

EnergyDay had earlier published a statement by Mallam Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director(GMD), Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, confirming Barkindo’s death.

OPEC however in an official statement obtained by EnergyDay via the group’s official website, said, ”OPEC extends its deepest condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, loved ones and his home country, Nigeria.

“This tragedy is a shock to the OPEC Family. We express our sorrow and deep gratitude for the over 40 years of selfless service that Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo gave to OPEC. His dedication and leadership will inspire OPEC for many years to come,” the statement ended.

Barkindo’s unexpected death has thrown the entire members of the oil and gas community into mourning and grief, as many refer to him as an industry giant, who dedicated his tenure at OPEC  stabilizing global oil markets by pursuing the unity among the members of the group, despite the exit of Qatar and Ecuador.

His time as the OPEC General-Secretary earned him the accolades as being instrumental in navigating the oil industry through two oil price cycles: the 2014-16 downturn caused by supply outpacing demand and the 2020 contraction of demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The late OPEC scribe earned that respect for combating energy poverty, a scourge that has lingered for ages. His tenure was credited with the sustained advocacy for fairness and equity, insisting that no nation on earth deserved to be left behind in the energy transition.

He was commended for bequeathing a ‘mission accomplished’ legacy for future generations, having seen OPEC through turbulent times in history, when volatile markets, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic rocked the entire global market. To his credit the OPEC+ alliance with Russia and other NGOs was established.

His career spanned four decades and included work at NNPC’s National Petroleum Corporation, Duke Oil, the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Energy and OPEC.

He started his career as Administrative Officer, Liaison Office,  the Nigerian Mining Corporation, Jos, up to the level of Principal Officer. He was later appointed as Special Assistant to the Minister of Mines, Power and Steel, Lagos, between 1984 and 1986.

Between 1986 and 1989, he was made the Special Assistant to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr Rilwanu Lukman. He also served in the office of the Chairman of the NNPC Board, as Head, Lagos office.

In 1990, he served (on secondment) as Special Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lagos.

He joined Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) in 1992, and served in various capacities spanning some 24 years, including serving as Head, International Investments, Investment Division, NNPC Headquarters(1992), Head, International Trade, NNPC London, President Duke Oil Inc, Chairman NAPOIL (1993–94), General Manager, NNPC London Office (1993–97), Managing Director/Chief Executive, HYSON/CALSON — an international trading arm of the NNPC (1998–2003) and Group General Manager Investments, NNPC Headquarters (2003–04).

In 2005, he was appointed as the Deputy Managing Director/Chief Executive, NLNG (2005). He was later  elevated to the office of Coordinator Special Projects, NNPC in 2007,and between that period, 2007 and 2009, he oversaw all Federal Government projects vested in the NNPC.

He later participated as a member of the Oil and Gas Industry Reform Implementation Committee (OGIC) that produced the original draft Petroleum Industrial Bill (2008). He also led the Transformation Programme of the NNPC as enshrined in the Oil and Gas Industry Reform Implementation Committee Report (2008).

Between January 2009 and April 2010, served as Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the NNPC and was later made the Special Assistant to the Minister of Petroleum and Energy (at various times)
He also served on several Boards of NNPC investee companies, such as banks, oil service companies, international trading companies etc.

At OPEC, the late Barkindo held various positions including  Nigerian Delegate to OPEC Ministerial Conferences(1986–2010). He served as Nigeria’s National Representative on OPEC’s Economic Commission Board (ECB)between 1993 and 2008.

He was the Acting OPEC Secretary General, and ECB Chairman between January and December 2006, and later  became Nigeria’s Governor for OPEC in between 2009 and 2010.

Served as Adhoc OPEC Governor at various times. Served as Chairman of the OPEC Task Force of the 15th Session of the United. He was the Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) and also spear-headed OPEC/European Union dialogue on Energy Markets, Taxation and Environment.

He was described as an architect of the first Long Term Strategy (LTS) at OPEC Founder delegated the formation of the African Petroleum Producers Association.

(APPA) in Algiers, Algeria, in 1986. Delegate to APPA Ministerial Conferences from 1987 to 2010.  Pioneer member of the International Energy Forum (IEF), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Has helped strengthen and consolidate OPEC/non-OPEC cooperation and dialogue.

Served as Adhoc OPEC Governor at various times. Served as Chairman of the OPEC Task Force of the 15th Session of the United.