Muhammad Barkindo
President Muhammadu Buhari has described the tenure of outgoing Secretary-General of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammed Barkindo, as challenging, with producers witnessing difficulties that conspired to cripple the oil market.
He, nevertheless, said posterity would smile on Barkindo for demonstrating leadership and rallying industry players to push through the turbulent times.
He also directed Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to mobilise the oil and gas industry for a befitting reception in honour of Barkindo.
Receiving the outgoing OPEC scribe at the State House, Buhari said posterity would remember him kindly for making the nation proud during his six years of meritorious service at the helms of affairs.
He said: “You have indeed been a worthy ambassador of our country. We are proud of your achievements before and during your appointment at OPEC and the proud legacies you will leave behind.
‘’Your time, in charge of the affairs of OPEC, has been a very challenging one for the global oil industry. Oil producers were finding it difficult to come together to address challenges that were crippling the oil market.
‘’Not long after, the world was faced with the COVID-19 pandemic that sent crude prices spiralling at an alarming rate. You showed incredible leadership to rally industry players and pushed through.
‘’There is no doubt about your efforts in putting together the Declaration of Cooperation, which is the largest in the history of OPEC and the global oil industry and also the longest in duration in the history of the organisation. This was a herculean task.”
In his remarks, Barkindo attributed his success to the tremendous guidance, charisma and international gravitas of Buhari; support from OPEC secretariat in Vienna; and cooperation from members of the organisation.
He recounted how counsel from Buhari helped in birthing the Declaration of Cooperation and non-OPEC oil-producing countries after he assumed office in Vienna in 2016 during a downturn in the sector, when oil prices plunged to less than $10 per barrel.
He said: “It was very obvious to me that this was beyond OPEC alone to address. We needed to get the support of other leading oil producers around the world.
‘’I recall that I did consult with you and I drank from your fountain of wisdom and your deep reservoir of knowledge of OPEC and global affairs.
“With your advice and guidance, I set out for various capitals around the world to try to persuade them to understand the gravity of the situation and the need for them to urgently join hands with OPEC.
‘’I did explain to them that they do not have to be full members of OPEC but we could work together in a framework of cooperation.
“On December 10, 2016, we signed this historic agreement in Vienna and on January 1, we started working together and we were able to assist the oil market restore stability.”
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