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New OPEC head gets to work

VIENNA, August 2, 2016 – Former Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Group Managing Director Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo officially took over from Abdalla Salem El Badri as OPEC secretary general on Monday, becoming the fourth Nigerian to hold the position.

Barkindo follows in the footsteps of Chief M.O. Feyide, who in 1975 became the first Nigerian to head the Vienna-based organisation. He held the position for one year, as did Edmund Daukoru in 2006. Rilwany Lukman was secretary general between 1986 and 1988 and again between 1995 and 2000.

 

The newly appointed secretary general is no stranger to OPEC. In 2006, Barkindo served as acting secretary general under Daukoru. Previously, he was Nigeria’s delegate in 1986 and seven years later re-joined as Nigeria’s National Representative on OPEC’s Economic Commission Board. From 2009 until 2010, Barkindo represented his country on the organisation’s Board of Governors.

Barkindo’s appointment, which will be for a duration of three years, was first announced on June 2. OPEC has described him as an “accomplished oil technocrat and veteran of OPEC.”

The secretary general takes the reign amidst a persistent oil glut, with crude prices struggling to remain above the USD 40-per-barrel-mark. On Tuesday, WTI futures for September fell to USD 39.93 per barrel, a level last seen in April.

Barkindo’s home country Nigeria has struggled to maintain its revenue stream as an uptick in attacks on oil installations in the oil-rich regions have cut production by as much 500,000 bopd. On Monday, a government official said that the government had revived a 2009 cash payment scheme for former militants, ditched earlier this year, in an effort to halt the attacks.

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