Barkindo: OPEC Has Continued to Grow Despite Doomsday Predictions

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) , Dr Sanusi Barkindo, at the weekend stated that the oil producers’ group has continued to grow strong in spite of the many predictions of its extinction.

Speaking at a book launch: “OPEC 60 Years and Beyond: A Story of Courage, Cooperation and Commitment, ’’to mark the organisation’s diamond jubilee, in Baghdad, Iraq , the Nigerian-born OPEC leader noted that rather than die, the cartel has evolved over the years.

For years, some countries have accused OPEC of manipulating oil supply to ensure high prices for oil producers, an allegation the organisation has said is unfounded, insisting that it’s more interested in market stability.

In fact, the “No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act,” or “NOPEC” in America which would empower the Department of Justice to file antitrust lawsuit against OPEC for trying to control oil production or to affect crude prices, has been before lawmakers for years.

At the event, Barkindo paid glowing tributes to the five founding fathers of OPEC, Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo of Venezuela; Abdullah al-Tariki of Saudi Arabia; Dr Tala’at al-Shaibani of Iraq; Dr Fuad Rouhani of Iran; and Ahmed Sayed Omar of Kuwait.

“That history now spans more than six decades, despite some sceptics suggesting that it would last little more than a few years.  As an organisation, we have come a long way, we have witnessed many ups and downs, we have seen seven major market cycles, including the latest in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have evolved as an integral part of the international energy community, and we have seen reams of column inches written about OPEC. It is important to stress that in terms of OPEC’s history, the Organization is far more than just an appendage to the history of oil,” he argued.

The event to document the first 60 years of OPEC was earlier scheduled for September 2020, but was deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to him, the book which highlights the history of OPEC underscores the adversities the organisation has faced, the challenges overcome, the achievements made, and the value placed on dialogue and cooperation with other industry stakeholders, including both producers and consumers.

Barkindo said that surviving 60 years remains a monumental achievement for such an organisation, but especially so for one representing one of the most volatile commodities – oil.

In his comments, the Minister of Oil and Head of Delegation, Iraq, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismaael, congratulated the staff members from the OPEC Secretariat,  led by Barkindo and wished the outgoing Secretary General  success in the next chapter of his life.

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