"We lost our esteemed Dr Muhammad Sanusi Barkindo," Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC) CEO Mele Kyari wrote on Twitter, adding that he died late on Tuesday, 5 July.
The death is a "great loss to his immediate family, the NNPC, our country Nigeria, the Opec and the global energy community", Kyari added.
During his keynote speech at an energy summit in Abuja hours before his death, Barkindo said the oil and gas industry is "under siege" and still reeling from the enormous investment losses of recent years.
"In a very short timespan, the industry has been hit by two major cycles – the severe market downturn in 2015 and 2016, and the even more far-reaching impact of the Covid-19 pandemic," Barkindo said.
Got up to the sad news of the passing of my mentor, friend, confidant and big brother Barkindo. One of the few persons I talk to many times daily. Joked about his speech at NOG. He told me about his meeting with Buhari. He sent me messages at midnight and I got up and he is gone. pic.twitter.com/iuGLJWaZKH— NJ Ayuk (@nj_ayuk) July 6, 2022
His career in the oil industry began in Nigeria in the early 1980s. He served in various capacities at the NNPC and represented Nigeria on Opec's Economic Commission Board.
He was acting Opec secretary-general in 2006 before returning to the position 10 years later and has led the organisation through a turbulent oil market period, including steering it towards greater cooperation with non-Opec oil producers.
After leaving Opec, Barkindo was due to join US think tank the Atlantic Council's Global Energy Center as a distinguished fellow, the council recently announced.
"This tragedy is a shock to the Opec family. We express our sorrow and deep gratitude for the over 40 years of selfless service that Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo gave to Opec. His dedication and leadership will inspire Opec for many years to come," the Opec secretariat said in a tweet.
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