The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has appointed Mr Haitham Al-Ghais as the organisation’s Secretary-General effective Aug. 1.
OPEC made the appointment at a Special Meeting on Monday held via video conference, which was chaired by president Jean-Richard Itoua, Congo’s Minister of Hydrocarbons and Head of its Delegation.
Al-Ghais, a veteran of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), takes over from Mr Mohammad Barkindo, a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
OPEC said in a statement on its website that Al-Ghais’ appointment was in accordance with Article 28 of the OPEC Statute and in application of the procedure decided at the 182nd Meeting of the Conference on Dec. 1, 2021.
The statement said the appointment, effective Aug. 1, was for a period of three years.
“Al-Ghais, a veteran of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) and Kuwait’s OPEC Governor from 2017 to June 2021, currently serves as Deputy Managing Director for International Marketing at KPC.
“He chaired the Joint Technical Committee (JTC) of the Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) in 2017 and subsequently served as a Member of the JTC until June 2021,” it said.
The statement said the conference also expressed its appreciation to Barkindo for his leadership during his two-term tenure as Secretary General, beginning on Aug. 1, 2016 and ending July 31.
It said: “A long-serving veteran of Nigeria’s oil industry and OPEC, Barkindo has been instrumental in expanding OPEC’s historical efforts to support sustainable oil market stability.
“This was through enhanced dialogue and cooperation with many energy stakeholders, including the landmark DoC since its inception in December 2016.
“These efforts are widely credited with helping to stabilise the global oil market since the unprecedented market downturn related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and providing a platform for recovery.”
The statement noted that before being appointed Secretary-General,Barkindo held a number of key roles at OPEC between 1986 and 2010, including as Acting Secretary General in 2006.
“He is known internationally for helping to produce the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto protocol as the leader of Nigeria’s technical delegation to the UN negotiations in 1991.
From my time working collaboratively with you as Kuwait’s OPEC
Governor, I know you have a great understanding of the organs and internal workings of the organisation
– Mohammad Barkindo
“He has remained a key contributor to the UNFCCC process, including most recently at the 26th Conference of Parties (COP) meeting in Glasgow in October and November 2021,” it said.
Meanwhile, Mr Mohammad Barkindo, the outgoing Secretary General, says the organisation will be in capable hands with his successor, Mr Haitham Al Ghais.
Barkindo made this known in a congratulatory message to Al Ghais.
A copy of the letter dated Jan. 3 was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.
He said: “I am very pleased to extend to you my warmest congratulations on your recent appointment as OPEC Secretary General-designate, with your tenure effective as of Aug. 1, 2022.
“It is fully deserved and recognition of your extremely positive standing within the OPEC community as a committed, knowledgeable and extremely able technocrat who can lead the Organisation in the years to come.”
Barkindo noted that it had been the honour of a lifetime to lead OPEC since August 2016.
According to Barkindo, his tenure has helped to bring together the ‘Declaration of Cooperation’, the ‘Charter of Cooperation’, and navigate the organisation past the impacts of the industry downturn of 2014-2016.
He said that the tenure also tackled the massive repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
Barkindo said: “With your appointment, this vital International Organisation for our Member Countries, as well as the global oil market, is in very capable hands.
“From my time working collaboratively with you as Kuwait’s OPEC Governor, I know you have a great understanding of the organs and internal workings of the organisation.”
“This will stand you in good stead and will be a great knowledge platform for when you assume the secretary general’s responsibilities.”
Barkindo said he would be ready to be of any help to Al Ghais as and when necessary just as he was assisted by previous secretaries general of OPEC as well as past and active ministers.
“There is an English saying, ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’.
“We follow in a long great line of past secretaries general, and I have no doubt that you will build your own legacy when you walk through the doors of the secretariat to become the next OPEC secretary general.
“Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration and respect,” he said. (NAN)
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