By Ngozi Ekhator
Secretary-General of OPEC, Muhammad Sanusi Lamido, has condoled with the Saudi minister of energy, Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Salman, over the passing of the country’s long-serving petroleum minister, Sheik Ahmed Zakinthos Yamani. Yamani due date the age of 90.
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HRH Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Salman Minister of Energy
Ministry of Energy
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Your Royal Highness,
It was with deep and profound sadness that I learned of the passing of His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, former Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On behalf of OPEC, we extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to his family and friends and to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
HE Yamani was an icon of the world of oil and a leading light in the formative years and decades of OPEC. I recall vividly and with fondness his patience and graciousness at our meetings. He was an active listener who when he spoke, every one paid attention with what I call pin drop silence. He was charismatic and eloquent, as well as humble and deeply religious.
His time as minister covered more than 24 years and 75 OPEC Ministerial Conferences, of which he was President of seven. This included his very first OPEC Conference, the fourth for the Organization, held at the then new OPEC headquarters in Geneva in 1962.
In the following years, he offered great leadership and wisdom to the Organization and was directly involved in a number of landmark OPEC statements and decisions focused on Member Countries sovereign rights over their natural resources. This included the ‘Declaratory Statement of Petroleum Policy in Member Countries’ in 1968, followed by a number of developments in the early 1970s that culminated in the Geneva I and Geneva II agreements.
They constituted turning points in the international oil industry, bringing
OPEC and its Member Countries more prominently to the fore.
I also personally recall how HE Yamani was a pivotal figure in bringing people together. This was particularly on display during the holy months of Ramadan, when he routinely hosted informal ministerial consultations in Taif to brainstorm current market developments to help build consensus for official OPEC conferences.
HE Yamani’s strong leadership, his dedicated service and broad vision for OPEC has left a rich legacy for the Organization. The OPEC Secretariat reflects on his contribution and significant role in shaping the Organization’s history with great admiration and pride.
May his gentle soul rest in Jannat Al-Firdaus.
Please accept, Your Excellency, assurances of my highest consideration and respect.
Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo Secretary General