BusinessDay

Al-Ghais replaces Barkindo as OPEC secretary-general

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has voted for Kuwait’s candidate, Haitham al-Ghais as the cartel’s next secretary-general, to replace Nigerian Mohammad Barkindo in July.

Four sources in OPEC’s Monday meeting confirm to Reuters that the organization voted to have the Kuwaiti candidate as its new secretary-general.

The new secretary-general will have to balance OPEC revenue needs against pressures from the United States to pump more oil to help to meet demand as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“He knows OPEC inside and out,” said Johannes Benigni, chairman of consultant JBC Energy Group in Vienna. “At the same time, he knows the ins and outs of the market. He’s very smart and a good analyst.”

Nigerian Barkindo, who is due to step down by end of July, took OPEC’s top job in mid-2016 and was granted a second three-year term in 2019.

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are some of the closest U.S. allies in the Middle East.

Al-Ghais stepped down as Kuwait’s OPEC governor in June 2021 and was appointed deputy managing director of international marketing at state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC).