Haitham al-Ghais to replace former Nigerian official Mohammad Barkindo as oil cartel’s secretary-general
By Benoit Faucon and Summer Said / WSJ
EnergiesNet.com 01 04 2022
OPEC appointed a veteran Kuwaiti oil official as its next secretary-general, an administrative role that also serves as a communication channel between the cartel’s often-fractious internal politics and the rest of the world—whose economies often can be greatly affected by the group’s oil-production policy.
At a virtual meeting Monday, the 13-strong Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries appointed Haitham al-Ghais to the post, replacing Mohammad Barkindo, a former Nigerian oil official who has held the position for two terms since 2016. He will take the reins from Mr. Barkindo in August.
Mr. al-Ghais is a former Kuwaiti representative at the cartel who has worked since 1993 at the state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corp., where he currently serves as deputy managing director for international marketing.
The appointment of the Kuwaiti—who was the sole candidate for the job—is in line with OPEC’s tradition of appointing representatives from smaller producers and shunning Saudi Arabia and Iran, two Middle East foes that have been battling for decades for influence both within the cartel and in regional politics.
In a letter to Mr. al-Ghais, Mr. Barkindo praised the incoming secretary-general as “a committed, knowledgeable and extremely able technocrat who can lead the Organization in the years to come.”
While Saudi Arabia holds de facto leadership on OPEC as the world’s biggest oil exporter, the secretary-general plays a key role in brokering production deals and in articulating the group’s positions publicly.https://tpc.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
During his tenure, Mr. Barkindo helped steer the organization through two oil-price crashes. In 2016, he responded to rising U.S. production by engineering an alliance between OPEC and Russia, one of the world’s largest oil producers, and a group of smaller non-OPEC producers
Then last year, after OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia launched an oil-price war with Russia as they disagreed over their response to the Covid-19 pandemic, he helped the group mend fences and agree to jointly curb output to revive collapsing oil prices.
His successor will also have to navigate pressure from governments, companies and public opinion to reduce oil consumption and adopt alternative forms of energy in an effort officials and scientists hope will mitigate climate change.
By Benoit Faucon and Summer Said from The Wall Street Jouyrnal – WSJ
wsj.com 01 03 2022