OPEC Votes Kuwaiti Haitham al-Ghais as New Secretary-General

January 3, 2022
Haitham al-Ghais

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has voted to appoint Kuwaiti candidate, Mr Haitham al-Ghais, as its new secretary-general.

According to Reuters on Monday, this was confirmed by four sources from the group.

The appointment of the new secretary-general to succeed Nigeria’s Mohammad Barkindo will become effective in July 2022.

Mr al-Ghais, a former Kuwaiti governor to OPEC, had been expected to get the job as he enjoys wide support from member countries.

He 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).

Mr Barkindo, who has seven months left, took OPEC’s top job in mid-2016 and was granted a second three-year term in 2019.

The Nigerian steered OPEC through a period of extreme turbulence, in which prices have crashed several times, including to below zero in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He also helped to clinch a deal with non-OPEC producers such as Russia to reduce global oil output to balance the market since 2016.

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.

OPEC and its Russia-led non-OPEC partners in the OPEC+ alliance are meeting tomorrow (January 4) for their regular monthly meeting to decide how to proceed with unwinding the production cuts for the following month.

So far, all indications point to OPEC+ sticking to its policy to continue unwinding the oil production cuts by 400,000 barrels per day each month.

The alliance decided at the last meeting on December 2 to stick to its initial plans to add 400,000 barrels per day to its collective oil production each month, to the surprise of some analysts who had expected a pause in the monthly supply additions.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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