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Buhari lauds outgoing OPEC Sec. Gen., Barkindo

President Muhammadu Buhari has lauded the outgoing Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Muhammed Barkindo, for repositioning the organization despite all odds. The President, while receiving Barkindo at the Presidential Villa yesterday, describedhimasthenation’s worthy ambassador, adding that posterity would remember him for his meritorious service to the 4th OPEC. The President directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to mobilizetheoiland gasindustry to organizeabefittingwelcome reception in honour of Barkindo.

“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 wasfacedwiththe COVID-19 pandemic that sent crude prices spiralling down at an alarming rate. You showed incredible leadership to rally industry players and pushed through the turbulent times.

‘‘There is no doubt about youreffortsinputtingtogetherthe 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 organization. This was a herculean task,’’ the President said. According to him, Barkindo’s efforts have placed the organization in a stronger position to confront the challenges it will face in the coming years.

In his remarks, Barkindo attributed his success to the tremendous guidance, charisma and international gravitas of the President; support from OPEC secretariat in Vienna; and cooperation by members of the organisation. He maintained that Buhari’s counsel helped him in birthing the Declaration of Cooperation of OPEC and non-OPEC oil-producing countries, after he assumed office in Vienna, Austria in 2016 during a downturn in the sector when oil prices plunged to less than 10 U.S dollars per barrel.

Barkindo said he assumed office at a challenging time adding that he visited many oil producing countries in the world which were non OPEC members to woo them to cooperate with the organization. The former OPEC Secretary- General noted that the Declaration of Cooperation, now in its sixth year, also helped the organisation to navigate the turbulence in the market occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

He explained that amidst COVID-19, the organisation took a decision to withdraw 9.6 million barrels per day from the market adding that OPEC was in the final lap of restoring the production figures due to rebound in the global market and economy. Having survived the major turbulences in 2016 and 2020, Barkindo expressed confidence that the worst was over and the future looked very promising for the organisation. Thanking the President for giving him the opportunity to serve, he pledged that Nigeria would continue to play its leadership role in OPEC as well as in the global oil industry.




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