Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, secretary general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Aaron M. Sprecher | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mohammad Barkindo, a Nigerian politician and the secretary general of oil group OPEC, has died at the age of 63.
The head of Nigeria’s National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, announced the news in a tweet Wednesday, which was confirmed by two sources at OPEC.
“We lost our esteemed Dr Muhammad Sanusi Barkindo,” a tweet early Wednesday morning from his verified Twitter handle read.
“He died at about 11pm yesterday 5th July 2022. Certainly a great loss to his immediate family, the NNPC, our country Nigeria, the OPEC and the global energy community. Burial arrangements will be announced shortly.”
Barkindo’s unexpected death came as a surprise to members of the oil and gas world, many of whom describe him as a giant in the industry.
His career spanned over four decades and included work at Nigeria’s National Petroleum Corporation, Duke Oil, Nigeria’s foreign ministry and energy ministry, as well as OPEC.
Since taking the helm as secretary-general of OPEC in 2016, Barkindo oversaw tumultuous times for the oil producer group, which witnessed volatile markets rocked by historic events including the Covid-19 pandemic, the creation of the OPEC+ alliance with Russia and other non-OPEC states, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
While the organization lost two members, Qatar and Ecuador, during that time, Barkindo is nonetheless credited with guiding unity among the group’s members in an effort to stabilize global oil markets.
—CNBC’s Emma Graham contributed to this article.