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ANigerian oil tech-
nocrat has emerged
as frontrunner to
take the top job at
OPEC, with mem-
Mohammed Barkindo as what would
be a rare compromise candidate to
lead the group amid rising tensions
between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Barkindo has been a key face of the
Nigerian oil industry for the past
decade, during which various gov-
ernments tried and effectively failed
to reform national oil company NNPC.
Today, Nigeria has alongside
Venezuela become one of the main
victims of oil s price collapse, with
the country s output declining sharply
due to militant attacks on pipelines
OPEC is likely to choose Barkindo,
a former head of NNPC, as the next
secretary-general of the producer
group, three sources with knowledge
of the matter said.
The Organisation of the Petroleum
Exporting Countries has since 2012
been looking for a replacement for
Libya s Abdullah al-Badri, who was
elected acting secretary-general in
December until the end of July after
serving full terms.
However, Barkindo s appointment
was by no means certain and Badri s
tenure could yet be extended by
another six months, some sources
Rivalries between OPEC heavy-
weights Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq
have so far prevented the group from
choosing candidates proposed by those
OPEC oil ministers meet on Thurs-
day in Vienna. The consensus of all
members---which in the past has
sometimes been elusive---is required
for the appointment of a new secre-
Barkindo led the Nigerian National
Petroleum Corporation from 2009 to
2010 and served as acting secretary-
general of OPEC in 2006 after the
original Nigerian nominee, junior oil
minister Edmund Daukouro, took over
the rotating OPEC presidency.
Barkindo also served on OPEC s
economic commission and held var-
ious high-ranking positions during a
career at NNPC that spanned over
He was deputy managing director
of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas
Company, a joint venture between
NNPC, Shell Gas BV, Total and Eni.
He was also head of NNPC s Lon-
don office, managing director of
NNPC s oil and gas trading division,
and an NNPC group executive director.
for OPEC boss
Argentina aims to eliminate its need for crude imports while increasing
domestic oil output to 653,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2025, a 23 per
cent increase from 2015, an official from the Energy Ministry said on
The South American country is working to cover its energy needs
after becoming a net importer three years ago due to falling crude and
gas output amid a low investment environment.
To achieve that, it needs to boost local output to cut crude imports
and start reducing costly purchases of liquefied natural gas (LNG)
currently made through tenders on the open market and from neigh-
"We don t believe in self sufficiency. We believe in supplying the
country s needs," said Daniel Redondo, Energy Planning Secretary from
the Energy Ministry, at a conference in La Jolla, California. "Self
sufficiency would imply to have an exportable surplus and that is not
going to happen soon."
At the end of 2015, Argentina s energy imports surpassed exports by
US$6.5 billion, Redondo said.
The ministry expects Argentina will be forced to keep buying costly
LNG for at least five years. It offered to buy some 47 cargoes so far
this year and it could buy up to 80 cargoes depending on the demand,
also adding extra imports of gas oil in the coming weeks.
But incentives given to Argentine producers to enable them to sell
their crudes domestically at a price of US$55 to US$67.50 per barrel
would help reduce oil imports.
Redondo said this incentive will exist until the international benchmark,
Brent crude which settled at US$49.59 on Thursday, surpasses some
US$55 per barrel. Companies operating in Argentina, including Pan
American Energy, consider these domestic purchase prices attractive
enough, the firm said.
Refining firms have imported two million barrels of African crudes
this year to feed plants with light crude grades that are not abundant
in Argentina, and they plan to import at least one million barrels more
in the second half of the year. Reuters
Argentina to boost crude oil
output to 653,000 bpd by 2025
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