The outgoing Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammed Barkindo, has expressed confidence that the worst is over and the future looks very promising for the organisation having survived the major turbulences between 2016 and 2020.
He spoke on Tuesday when he was received by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
Barkindo attributed his success to the tremendous guidance, charisma and international gravitas of President Buhari, support from the OPEC secretariat in Vienna, and the cooperation from members of the organisation.
He recalled how the counsel from President Buhari helped in the birthing of 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.
‘‘It was very obvious to me that this was beyond OPEC alone to address. We needed to get the support of other leading oil producers around the world. I recall that I did consult with you and I drank from your fountain of wisdom and your deep reservoir of knowledge of OPEC and global affairs.
‘‘With your advice and guidance, I set out to various capitals around the world to try to persuade them to understand the gravity of the situation and the need for them to urgently join hands with OPEC.
‘‘I did explain to them that they do not have to be full members of OPEC but we could work together in a framework of cooperation and on December 10, 2016, we signed this historic agreement in Vienna and on the 1st January, we started working together and we were able to assist the oil market to restore stability.’’
The former OPEC Secretary-General noted that the Declaration of Cooperation, which is 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- the highest ever adjustment in its history- for a duration of two years.
He added that OPEC is now in the final lap of restoring the production figures due to a rebound in the global market and economy.
While speaking, President Buhari expressed the nation’s gratitude to the outgoing Secretary-General of OPEC, describing him as a worthy ambassador of the country.
The President, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, said posterity will remember him kindly for making the nation and himself proud during his six years of meritorious service at the helm of affairs as the 4th OPEC Secretary-General from Nigeria.
The President directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to mobilise the oil and gas industry to organise a befitting welcome reception in honour of Barkindo.