Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Dr Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, has been bestowed with the ‘International Petroleum Diplomacy Person of the Year 2020 Award’ by International Petroleum Summit held in Abuja, Nigeria.
The elated Barkindo, who expressed gratitude to the organizers of the summit for honouring him with the award, said in his acceptance speech that “I interpret this award as a recognition of the teamwork, dedication and selflessness of a remarkable group of countries: namely, the “Declaration of Cooperation” strategic partners. Working with the statesmen, leaders and representatives of the OPEC Member Countries and the non-OPEC producing countries has been the honour of a lifetime.”
While celebrating the OPEC Sec-Gen over the award, a delegate to OPEC’s conferences in Vienna, Austria, in his message of congratulation, said: “Sincere Congratulations, Excellency! Your Excellency’s tireless efforts and remarkably successful initiatives have paved the way for the historic agreements we have all achieved in 2020, that will continue shaping the oil and energy markets for the years to come. The OPEC-Non OPEC partnership is stronger than ever and its success is widely lauded around the world, and Your Excellency remains a true icon and a leader around these outstanding achievements.
“Your Excellency’s shuttle diplomacy during the period 2016-2019 was key in strengthening the bonds of cooperation among our countries, and since the onset of this terrible pandemic it has been Your Excellency’s virtual shuttle diplomacy with dozens of successful missions, meetings, consultations with countries from all corners of the world the one that has guided OPEC and our partners to continuing standing as strong, as relevant, as decisive as we should be.”
An expert in OPEC affairs, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, congratulated the Secretary-General of OPEC on the award describing him as the “world’s No 1 oil diplomat” that has stabilised the global oil market making it possible for Nigeria and other oil-producing countries to embark on microeconomic planning with certainty.
Ughamadu, the immediate past Group General Manager, Public Affairs of NNPC, noted that Dr Barkindo, for the first time in the history of OPEC, brought OPEC and non-OPEC members together under the popular and famous Declaration of Cooperation (DoC). This, he noted, interestingly contributed significantly to the international oil market stability.
Barkindo’s Acceptance Speech…
Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
I am humbled, honoured and deeply grateful to be bestowed with the International Petroleum Diplomacy Person of the Year 2020 Award. My sincere thanks go to the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, HE Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources; the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; Mele Kolo Kyari, Group Managing Director, NNPC; the organizers and sponsors of the Nigerian International Petroleum Summit; titans of industry; and everyone involved in this prestigious event.
I interpret this award as a recognition of the teamwork, dedication and selflessness of a remarkable group of countries: namely, the “Declaration of Cooperation” strategic partners. Working with the statesmen, leaders and representatives of the OPEC Member Countries and the non-OPEC producing countries has been the honour of a lifetime.
Simply put, OPEC is a team. We are the sum of our parts and we are truly fortunate that our Member Countries recognize the importance of unity and group cohesion. It is ingrained in our DNA to take actions towards a collective good, in the interests of producers, consumers and the global economy.
The non-OPEC countries that have worked so closely with us over the last almost five years have been remarkable exemplars of the
best principles of international cooperation:
respectfulness, responsibility and commitment to carefully choosing the most appropriate course of action.
And of course, we cannot speak of an OPEC team without honouring the hardworking women and men at the OPEC Secretariat in Vienna. I dedicate this award to them. The team at the Secretariat never cease in their relentless dedication, commitment to duty and achieving the highest standards in service excellence.
For all of the changes we have lived through together in recent times, one thing that remains as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar is OPEC’s six-decade long commitment to working with any stakeholder, promoting dialogue, and fostering partnership in the interests of producers, consumers and the health of the global economy. The pandemic has only served to strengthen this article of faith that is integral to our Organization’s DNA.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
As I mentioned in my remarks at the beginning of the summit, the 50th Anniversary of Nigerian Membership of OPEC, which we will celebrate in July, is an important opportunity to reflect on the many accomplishments over the five decades and gives thanks for the ways in which Nigeria and OPEC have contributed to one another’s betterment.
On a final note, although it might not be fashionable to say it, I would like to emphasize how proud I am to work in the petroleum industry. In daily life, oil is taken for granted. Often it seems it is only in the headlines for negative reasons. But our commodity matters. This has been very articulated expressed by the American author Michael Patrick Smith, who recently penned a memoir about his time working as an oil hand in the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota. His experience left him with a newfound respect for oil. He wrote:
It is strange to think of industry containing magic, but even in our current age of reason, it is hard not to think of oil as containing properties that, although also destructive, can only be described as utterly fantastic.
Oil, refined into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, makes cars drive, planes fly and ships sail. It powers submarines and spacecraft, sends shellfish to Colorado, medicine to Liberia, and soldiers and supplies to war zones across the world. It powers our school buses and gunships, ambulances and tanks.
But it does more than transport us. It heats our homes. It illuminates our nights. We eat off it. Petroleum is contained in the glaze on our chine, the finish on our tables, the linoleum on our counters, the tile on our floors.
It wraps around us in the fabric that clothes our makes bodies, in the jewellery that adorns our necks and hands and fingers, in the balm that soothes our cracked lips, in the makeup that defines the contours of our faces. And it is inside of us. The syringes and the pills that deliver medicine into our systems are made from petroleum.
Synthetic ammonia, derived from a process using refined oil, is an essential ingredient in fertilizer. Without it, farming on an industrial scale would not be possible. It is in our food. We eat it. Oil is so prevalent in every aspect of our existence that it has become all but invisible to the vast majority of people who need it simply to live.
Thank you again and may the future of Nigeria and OPEC continue to be bright.
Welcoming Address, HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary-General, OPEC; Nigeria International Petroleum Summit 10 February 2020
© 2020 Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries