President Muhammadu Buhari, alongside eminent personalities in Nigeria and has expressed shock over the sudden death of the secretary-general of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo.
Buhari said Nigeria has lost a huge national asset with Barkindo’s death.
In a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, Buhari paid glowing tribute to the remarkable gentleman and enormous national asset, who from his youthful days worked meritoriously in the service of the nation in various national and international capacities, and never stopped being a beacon of light to the country he loved until his last breath. Barkindo died at about 11pm Tuesday Barkindo was among other top and eminent personalities that delivered speeches at the ongoing 21st Nigeria’s Oil and Gas conference in Abuja. His speech earned him a standing ovation.
Unfortunately, the technocrat died of heart attack hours after he was hostes by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
A former managing director of the NNPC, Barkindo was appointed OPEC Secretary General in 2016. He was the fourth Nigerian to hold that position and the 28th person in the role overall.
The President affirmed that Barkindo’s undeniable brilliance and legacies as a dedicated public servant will remain a reference point in the oil and gas industry, international development and the environment sector.
In his tribute to Barkindo, minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said: “This is a great loss to Nigeria, to OPEC, to the energy sector and, most compassionately, to his family, which we have in our prayers and thoughts.”
OPEC also paid tribute to Barkindo and called him “a visionary leader and an eloquent communicator who played a key role in forming the historic Declaration of Co-operation at the end of 2016”. the oil cartel said the news is a huge tragedy to the OPEC family.
OPEC tweeted, “OPEC Secretary-General, HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, passed away yesterday in his home country Nigeria. He was the much-loved leader of the OPEC Secretariat and his passing is a profound loss to the entire OPEC Family, the oil industry and the international community.
“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.”
A number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE, Kuwait, Iran and Russia, signed the declaration six years back to co-operate in cutting production to stabilise oil markets.
The group last week agreed to increase production in August by 648,000 barrels per day, endorsing a plan announced earlier in June. The latest output increase fully restores the 5.8 million bpd output that was cut during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He served the organisation with great distinction and helped it successfully navigate through two major industry downturns (2015-2016 and 2020-2021), was instrumental in the setting up of the Charter of Co-operation and was a consummate diplomat in further advancing dialogue and co-operation with a variety of industry stakeholders,” Opec said.
Barkindo took charge as head of OPEC in 2016 and his tenure was marked by some extraordinary events such as volatile markets, global shocks, the formation of the Opec+ alliance with Russia and other non-Opec producers, the coronavirus pandemic and Moscow’s decision to invade Ukraine.
His death came as a shock to many, especially those in the oil and gas industry.
UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said in a tweet: “We highly honour and appreciate his distinguished work for the organisation during hard and turbulent times. We send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, [the] petroleum community and the Nigerian government.”
Iraqi Oil minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar said “Barkindo was a friend to Iraq and loved its people”, according to an Iraqi News Agency report.
“He was keen on strengthening OPEC’s role in stabilising oil markets in the face of challenges that had stormed the oil sector and the global economy.”
Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov also paid tribute to Barkindo and remembered his “invaluable services in the regulation of the oil market in the most difficult period”.
“The renaissance of the organisation [OPEC] coincided with his years as the secretary general; the simultaneous completion of his mission in Opec and in life was a rare regularity,” Mr Shahbazov tweeted. Barkindo has held several positions both in Nigeria and on the international stage, including principal administrative officer for Nigerian Mining Corporation, general managing director (GMD) as well as Nigerian governor for OPEC.
Energy Stakeholders Mourn Barkindo
Day 3 of the 2022 Nigerian oil and gas conference kicked off with condolence remarks following the news of Barkindo’s death.
Christopher Hudson, president (energy) DMG Events, noted that Barkindo had a tremendous impact on the global energy space.
“It is with great sadness that I stand before you today share to share the news and express our deepest condolences for the loss of His Excellency, Muhammad Barkindo, secretary-general of OPEC, who passed away last night,” Hudson said.
“His excellency had a profound and positive impact on the global energy market as well as the Nigerian oil and gas industry. His excellency was one of the founding fathers of NOG, where we stand today.
Gbenga Komolafe, CEO, Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), also joined others in expressing his condolences on the passing of Barkindo.
“That goes to show the Ephemerality of life,” he said.
“For me, it was very shocking and sad. I just mustered the courage to be here.”