Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), passed away this past Tuesday at the age of 63 years old.
“OPEC extends its deepest condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, loved ones and his home country, Nigeria,” announced the oil alliance via a release. “It is a day in which words are not enough, but it is also important to express our deep gratitude for the over 40 years of selfless service that HE Barkindo gave to OPEC. His dedication and leadership will inspire OPEC for many years and decades to come.”
Barkindo took his role as the head of OPEC back in 2016 de to his work as the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. He has been a large factor in creating the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as reported by OPEC.
With Venezuela, Kuwait, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq as member nations, OPEC officials set oil production targets in a play to take control of the worldwide energy supply. The alliance accounts for a total of over 80% of the world’s proven oil reserves, with 67% of that originating from its Middle Eastern member nations.
Just a short time before his passing, Barkindo issued a speech in Abuja, Nigeria at an energy summit, where he stated that the oil industry itself is “under siege.”
“In a very short timespan, the industry has been hit by two major cycles — the severe market downturn in 2015 and 2016, and the even more far-reaching impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Barkindo, as reported by CNN Business.
“Over the past six years, we have witnessed both challenging and historic moments, which have underscored time and again the importance of cooperation and teamwork,” Barkindo stated, going on to add that his tenure as the leader of OPEC had been the “honor of a lifetime.”
The death of Barkindo takes place as international oil prices remain extremely unstable. After seeing prices jump to almost $130, the price of Brent crude dropped back down to $99 as of this past Wednesday evening, which puts it at almost the same price as it was previous to the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine. West Texas International crude is sitting at a similar price at $98 which is a drop from the heights of over $123 in early March.
Despite this, Many analysts from JPMorgan Chase claimed that oil prices could spike by over three times to $380 if Russia chooses cut its overall output. “It is likely that the government could retaliate by cutting output as a way to inflict pain on the West,” highlighted the analysts. “The tightness of the global oil market is on Russia’s side.”