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Kuwait’s oil veteran Al-Ghais takes over as OPEC’s new Secretary-General

VIENNA: The Kuwaiti oil expert Haitham Al-Ghais took office on Monday as the new Secretary-General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at the Organization’s headquarter in the Austrian capital, Vienna. Al-Ghais was appointed by acclamation for a three-year term at a special meeting for OPEC conference held on 3 January 2022, succeeding the late Secretary General of the organization Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo.

In a statement issued by OPEC, Al-Gais said, “It is a great honor for me to be at the helm of an Organization that has been instrumental in supporting a stable and sustainable supply of oil to the world for more than 61 years.”

“Throughout its history, OPEC has been at the forefront of promoting dialogue, cooperation and partnerships to achieve its mission. Today, I look forward to working with all our member countries and our many partners around the world to ensure a sustainable and inclusive energy future which leaves no one behind,” the Secretary General added. Al-Ghais is an oil technocrat and well known OPEC figure – brings a great experience from both his diplomatic background, as well as his extensive experience in the energy and oil sectors in Kuwait and internationally.

The Secretary General’s career in the global oil industry spans 30 years. He advised six Kuwaiti Oil Ministers on the global oil market and its developments over the past years. Al-Ghais is also a veteran of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC). He served at KPC’s offices in Kuwait; Beijing, China; and London. Before taking the position of OPEC Secretary General, he was the Deputy Managing Director for International Marketing at KPC. He was a leading member of Kuwait’s Delegation to the meetings of OPEC and the Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) between OPEC Member Countries and non-OPEC oil-producing countries. The Secretary General served as Kuwait’s Governor for OPEC from 2017 to 2021. He was also a Member of the Organization’s Internal Audit Committee, which he later skillfully chaired. Al-Ghais was the first Chairman of the DoC’s Joint Technical Committee (JTC) following the inception of the historic framework in December 2016.

He led the committee with great distinction in its first year, and subsequently served as a member of the JTC until June 2021.The Secretary General also played a key role in drafting and developing the landmark Charter of Cooperation (CoC). The CoC was endorsed by OPEC Member Countries and several non-OPEC producing countries in July 2019 at the Sixth OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial meeting. – KUNA

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