Nigeria Said to Nominate Barkindo for OPEC Secretary-General

  • Mohammed Barkindo is ex-managing director at state oil company
  • He served as acting secretary-general of OPEC 10 years ago

Nigeria will propose Mohammed Barkindo, former group managing director of state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., for the position of OPEC secretary-general, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Barkindo worked at NNPC until 2010 and served as acting secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in 2006, as well as representing Nigeria at the group. The people asked not to be identified because his nomination is not yet public.

OPEC has tried unsuccessfully for more than three years to find a replacement for current Secretary-General Abdalla El-Badri, who was due to stand down in 2012 after serving two terms in the role. At OPEC’s last meeting in December, El-Badri’s term was extended until July.

Political rivalries between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq have prevented OPEC from settling on candidates that each of those nations proposed. The disagreement over choosing a successor flared again at the Dec. 4 meeting as the slump in oil prices heightened tensions over the direction of the group’s policy.

Barkindo “would be well placed in the secretary-general role and could offer a smooth transition out of the current deadlock, enabling the OPEC secretariat to resume operations at full strength,” said John Hall, chairman of consultants Alfa Energy. “He knows how OPEC operates and is known to many delegates” said Hall, who has worked in the oil industry for more than 40 years.

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