Abuja, 7 July 2022 (TDI): Nigerian oil veteran and the Secretary-General of Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Mohammad Burkindo passed away in the country’s capital at the age of 63.

Mohammad Burkindo had steered the group in turbulent times and established the OPEC+ alliance.

The Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari, announced the news on Twitter which was later confirmed by OPEC officials.

An Outgoing Secretary-General

The news came just hours after Burkindo arrived in the country’s capital to wrap up his OPEC career. He delivered a speech at the Nigerian Oil and Gas Conference and met Nigerian President Muhammad Buhari.

Earlier this year OPEC also appointed Haitham al-Ghais of Kuwait as the successor Secretary-General. Kyari announced Burkindo would be buried in his hometown Yola.

No immediate cause of death has been given yet. The news of his passing prompted diplomatic condolences from all around the world including UAE, India, and Azerbaijan.

Legacy as an ‘Oil Diplomat’

Burkindo began his career with the Nigerian Mining Corporation in 1982 before holding numerous roles over more than two decades at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Although the key decisions at OPEC are taken by ministers from Saudi Arabia and other top producers, the Secretary-General represents the group on the world stage and has an important diplomatic role in helping the ministers reach consensus.

Burkindo first led the crude-oil bloc in 2006 before returning to the position 10 years later when he helped set up the OPEC+ alliance as OPEC members joined forces with Russia and other non-members to cooperate on oil supply.

That agreement which is set to expire this year helped to steady the volatile oil market during the pandemic and subsequently became his legacy.