A former group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mohammed Barkindo, has been appointed as the new Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The appointment was announced at OPEC’s 169th meeting held in Vienna, capital of Austria, on Thursday, June 2.
Barkindo, is succeeding Abdalla El-Badri, Libyan Minister of Oil, whose tenure comes to an end in July. Prior to the expiration of El-Badri’s tenure, speculations was everywhere that Barkindo would be appointed as his successor. But until the meeting on Thursday, OPEC members had not reached a conclusion on who should be handed the office. El-Badri was elected acting Secretary-General of the group in December 2015.
Barkindo is not entirely new to the position, as he had in 2006, served as the acting Secretary-General of the organization and has even represented Nigeria at the organisation. Although, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, has credited with playing a huge role in Barkindo’s emergence as the cartel’s secretary-general, as the minister was said to have worked hard behind the scenes at convincing OPEC’s influential members to allow a Nigerian to oversee the administration of OPEC’s headquarters in Vienna, Barkindo by his appointment becomes the second Nigerian, after former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Rilwanu Lukman, to serve as the oil cartel’s Secretary-General.
He bagged his first degree from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and he is also the Wali of Adamawa. He has spent more than 23 years at NNPC where he has served in various capacities including Deputy Managing Director of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) and head of the international trading unit. He has also served 15 years as Nigeria’s representative to OPEC
He is to assume office in July, and he will be in charge for the next three years.