- Mohammad Barkindo, the secretary general of oil producer group OPEC, died at the age of 63, just days before he was set to finish his term at the organization
- Barkindo’s unexpected death came as a shock to Nigerians after 36 years of shining in the global oil and gas sector
- From 2009 to 2010, Barkindo was Group Managing Director and CEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)
While the name Muhammad Sanusi Barkindo may not be familiar to many Nigerians, he is a major figure in the global oil and gas industry.
For 36 years, he has been Nigeria's shining light at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, serving in various roles before being appointed Secretary-General in 2016.
His career extended four decades until his death on Thursday, June 6, 2022, and included employment at Nigeria's National Petroleum Corporation(MD), Duke Oil, Nigeria's foreign ministry, and energy ministry.
Earlier in his career, he was also Special Assistant to former Minister of Petroleum Resources and OPEC Secretary-General, Rilwanu Lukman KBE.
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Barkindo's remarkable achievements also include overseeing tumultuous times for the oil producer group, which witnessed volatile markets rocked by historic events, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the creation of the OPEC+ alliance with Russia and other non-OPEC states, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
While the organization lost two members, Qatar and Ecuador, during that time, Barkindo is nonetheless credited with guiding unity among the group’s members in an effort to stabilize global oil markets.
Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo was born in Yola, Adamawa State on April 20, 1959. After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Barkindo went on to achieve a postgraduate diploma in petroleum economics and management from the College of Petroleum Studies at Oxford University and a master’s degree in business administration from Southeastern University in Washington, DC.
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He is also a holder of an Honorable Doctorate Degree in Science from Modibbo Adama University and the Federal University of Technology, Yola, and is a fellow member of various international petroleum institutions such as the Institute of Petroleum, London.
Barkindo’s at OPEC
As previously noted, Barkindo has held various critical positions within OPEC, rising to the position of Secretary-General.
He was first appointed in 1986 as part of Nigeria’s delegation to OPEC, and from 1993 to 2008, he served as Nigeria’s National Representative on the Organisation’s Economic Commission Board.
In 2006, he was Acting OPEC Secretary-General and represented Nigeria on OPEC’s Board of Governors from 2009 to 2010.
Barkindo, a true Nigerian
During the last few hours of his life, Barkindo showed a strong interest in Nigerian oil and gas issues.
Soon after being received by President Muhammdu Buhari at the Villa in the early hours of Tuesday, Barkindo left for an oil and gas conference in Abuja, where he advocated for greater investment in Nigeria's oil and gas industry, as well as increased output.
In his last few words, he warned that Nigeria's oil sector is under siege, no thanks to te Ukrain, Russia war and countries’ efforts to divest from hydrocarbons.
“Our industry is now facing huge challenges along multiple fronts. While they are seeking to limit global warming, he said oil demand was growing even as investment in capacity falls and prices surge.
“And these threaten our investment potential now and in the long term. To put it bluntly, my dear friends, the oil and gas industry is under siege"
For us in Nigeria, fossil fuel will always have a share in our energy mix, for the foreseeable future. We will not at this time abandon fossil fuels. We have to adopt gas as a transition fuel."
NNPC sets date for completion of Port Harcourt refinery after spending over N539bn for repair works
He made the promise before the House of Representatives on the resumption of investigation on the state of the country’s refineries.
When asked, Kyari, who was represented by the General Manager, Refineries & Petrochemicals, Mustapha Yakubu reaffirmed to the lawmakers on the expected date of completion.