The Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo has died in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.
OPEC is a group of oil-producing countries that coordinate and unify petroleum policies among Member Countries, in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers – as well as – an efficient and regular supply of petroleum to consuming countries.
His death was confirmed by the group Managing Director of Nigeria’s National Oil Company in a tweet early Wednesday. He was 63.
News of his passing came just hours after he delivered a speech at an energy conference in Abuja where he said the oil and gas industry is “under siege” and still reeling from the enormous investment losses of recent years.
He also met with President Muhammadu Buhari earlier on Tuesday.
OPEC in a statement said, “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,”
Nigeria’s government also said his passing was a great loss to the country.
The Nigerian oil industry veteran was due to step down at the end of this month after six years at the OPEC top job.
Barkindo oversaw turbulent times for the Oil producers Organisation which witnessed volatile markets worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, the creation of the OPEC+ alliance with Russia and other non-OPEC states, as well as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
He has been credited with guiding unity among the group’s members in an effort to stabilise global oil markets. The cause of death is not known. -Reporting by SABC News Ajeck Mangut from Abuja.