Dr Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, secretary-general of OPEC, addressed the Nigerian Oil & Gas (NOG) conference on his promotion to the OPEC top job as well as sharing his thoughts on the global oil market
He began his address by outlining his ascent to the OPEC secretary position with a light-hearted anecdote from when he received the offer and his wife suggested it was "one of those prank calls". However, on a more serious note, Dr Barkindo praised Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria's petroleum minister, for his efforts in promoting him to the role, convincing seven other countries to withdraw their candidates.
Since taking on the OPEC position, Dr Barkindo is particularly proud of the cooperation achieved between OPEC and non-OPEC members in the final quarter of 2016 when it was agreed that oil production should be cut. With oil remaining stead at around the US$50/barrel mark, Dr Barkindo said that "extreme volatility has abated".
"Twenty-four countries have made a shared commitment to work together to reinforce the decision," he told NOG delegates.
With energy demand expected to rise by 40 per cent by 2040 in line with an increase in global population heavily centred on Africa and the Middle East, Dr Barkindo said that oil and gas will continue to play a major role in meeting that demand. He added that this will take place against a backdrop of uncertainties, including the cost of production, technology, geology and geopolitical developments.
New refining capacity was deemed essential by Dr Barkindo, with the Asia-Pacific region leading the way. He echoed the sentiments of Dr Kachikwu's address when he said it is important for Nigeria to boost refining capacity.
Dr Barkindo said that OPEC has been championing deregulation in Nigeria's downstream sector to help the country meet refining goals.
Dr Barkindo concluded is address by stressing the important role the oil industry has to play in mitigating climate change. His comments come in the wake of the historic 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, with all 11 OPEC nations signing up. He said that by developing the oil industry sustainably for producers and consumers, "people will be lifted out of poverty".
The event website is: www.cwcnog.com