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OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo Has Passed

The secretary-general of OPEC, Mohammed Barkindo, has died suddenly, the group chief executive officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation said.

"We lost our esteemed Dr Muhammad Sanusi Barkindo. He died at about 11pm yesterday 5th July 2022. Certainly a great loss to his immediate family, the NNPC, our country Nigeria, the OPEC and the global energy community. Burial arrangements will be announced shortly," Mele Kyri said in a tweet.

Before he became secretary-general of OPEC, Barkindo spent 24 years with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in various capacities, including as head of international investments and lead on the transformation program of the company in the late 2000s.

Just this week, in what appear to have been his last comments, Barkindo said the oil industry was "under siege", citing years of underinvestment, although he added that the current deficit could be tackled successfully by allowing Iranian and Venezuelan oil back into international markets.

"Our industry is now facing huge challenges along multiple fronts," Barkindo said at an industry conference in Nigeria, as quoted by Reuters. "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."

He went on to add "The ongoing war in Ukraine, a COVID-19 pandemic which is still with us, and the inflationary pressures across the globe have come together in a perfect storm that is causing significant volatility and uncertainty in the commodity markets in general. More importantly, in the world of energy." 

"We could, however, unlock resources and strengthen capacity if the oil produced by the Islamic Republic of Iran and Venezuela were allowed to return to the market," Barkindo added.

The return of Venezuela and Iran to international markets has been under consideration in Washington, which has sanctioned both countries, but there appear to still be obstacles to deals that would see this happen.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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