Fg Nominates Ex-nnpc Director, Mohammed Barkindo For Opec Secretary-general

BEVERLY HILLS, March 31, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government has nominated Mr. Mohammed Barkindo, a former Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, for the position of the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, by July 2016.

The nomination of Barkindo was put forward by Nigeria to replace Abdalla Salem El-Badri, OPEC's Secretary General who has led OPEC for over nine years and was supposed to leave at the end of 2012 but his tenure was extended due to the fact that member countries of OPEC could not reach a consensus on his replacement.

Barkindo had previously served as Acting Secretary-General of OPEC in 2006, and was GMD of the NNPC from 2009 to 2010 and reports indicate that his nomination has the potential of ending the deadlock over OPEC's leadership.

The nomination comes at a critical time for OPEC, which is grappling with divisions among its 13 member nations over how to deal with the collapse in oil prices and over whether a national from Iraq, Saudi Arabia or Iran should head the organization.

While some members like Venezuela want OPEC members to cut oil production to reduce supply and raise prices, while others like Saudi Arabia want to let market forces work mostly on their own.

OPEC decides on the leadership position at ministerial meetings, with the next one scheduled on June 2 in Vienna with reports indicating that delegates had tipped Nigeria or Angola as the most likely countries to produce the cartel's leader because they are seen as neutral in the group's geopolitical disagreements.

Although, the Secretary General isn't a decision maker at OPEC but the position plays a key role in brokering agreements and bridging differences between the cartel's fractious members on production policies.

OPEC's next challenge will be how to implement production limits at its meeting with non-members such as Russia and Bahrain in Qatar on April 17.

Story by David Oputah



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