OPEC Welcomes New Secretary General Haitham Al-Ghais

OrganizationsInternational Organizations ♦ Published: August 1, 2022; 09:03 ♦ (Vindobona)

Haitham Al-Ghais of Kuwait has taken over the position of Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). He replaces Mohammed Barkindo, who died unexpectedly in July.

OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al-Ghais (right) and OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo (2nd from right), who died in July. / Picture: © OPEC - Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries

As of today, 1 August, Haitham Al-Ghais from Kuwait takes over as Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). He succeeds Mohammed Barkindo, who died unexpectedly in July. Al-Ghais takes over the position in a historic energy crisis.

It was a shock that swept through the international media in mid-July. OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo, who was still in office at the time, died suddenly a month before his term at OPEC ended in his home country of Nigeria, Vindobona reported. He left OPEC amid an uncertain economy and record oil prices.

His successor, Haitham Al-Ghais, a Kuwaiti-born top executive who had worked at Kuwait's state oil company Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) as regional head in Beijing and London, among other positions, takes on a delicate job balancing the interests of the 23 member states of the Opec-plus alliance.

On 3 January, Al-Ghais was unanimously appointed by the representatives of the OPEC member states via video conference as the next Secretary General and will take office for an initial period of three years.

Immediately prior to his appointment, he served as Kuwait's OPEC governor in Vienna from 2017 to 2021. Al-Ghais has nearly 30 years of experience in the oil industry, and has participated in many international conferences and forums.

Even before taking office as Secretary General, Al-Ghais drew attention to himself in an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Alrai. In this exclusive interview, he stressed that Russia's membership in OPEC+ was crucial for the success of the agreement. Earlier, there were rumours that Russia could be expelled from OPEC+. Vindobona reported.

He said OPEC was not in competition with Russia, calling it "a large, important and highly influential player on the world energy map", Alrai reported.

To learn more about the new secretary-general of the Vienna-based Association of Petroleum Exporting Countries, read this Vindobona article, where you can find Haitham Al-Ghais' CV so far.

OPEC Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries