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03 Jan 2022

Special Meeting of the OPEC Conference appoints next Secretary General

A Special Meeting of the Conference of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was held via videoconference on Monday, 3 January 2022, under the Chairmanship of its President, HE Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua, Congo's Minister of Hydrocarbons and Head of its Delegation.

In accordance with Article 28 of the OPEC Statute and in application of the procedure decided at the 182nd Meeting of the Conference on 1 December 2021, the Conference decided by acclamation to appoint Mr Haitham Al-Ghais of Kuwait as Secretary General of the Organization, with effect from 1 August 2022, for a period of three years.

Mr 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.

In its decision, the Conference expressed its appreciation to HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo for his leadership during his two-term tenure as Secretary General beginning on 1 August 2016 and ending on 31 July 2022.

A long-serving veteran of Nigeria’s oil industry and OPEC, Mr Barkindo has been instrumental in expanding OPEC’s historical efforts to support sustainable oil market stability 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 stabilize the global oil market since the unprecedented market downturn related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and providing a platform for recovery.

Before being appointed Secretary General, Mr 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. 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.