Barkindo visits Baghdad to celebrate OPEC’s establishment

 Barkindo visits Baghdad to celebrate OPEC’s establishment

OPEC and Iraqi officials at the Al-Shaab Hall in Baghdad, Iraq. (Source: OPEC)

Baghdad ( – The Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Muhammad Barkindo, arrived in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad on Thursday to celebrate OPEC’s 60th Anniversary. 

During the visit, Barkindo and the Secretariat’s delegation met with senior officials from the Ministry of Oil and took a tour of historical sites in Baghdad, including Al-Shaab Hall, which was the location of where OPEC was founded.

Iraq’s Ministry of Oil recently renovated the famous hall in 2021 to host the celebration of OPEC’s 60th Anniversary. Unfortunately, Barkindo and his delegation’s visit to Iraq was delayed several times last year due to the pandemic.

Speaking at the historical site, Barkindo commended Iraq for playing an instrumental role in shaping global oil and gas affairs.

As Barkindo took to the public, he extended his appreciation to Iraq saying: “I want to use this opportunity to extend our deep gratitude to the government and the heroic people of Iraq for preserving this historic monument- al Shaab Hall in Bab Al-Muaatham” and wished the people of Iraq “continued blessings for many years of peace, stability, growth, development and prosperity.” 

“We, in OPEC, are very proud of the leadership of Iraq in our organization and the international oil industry,” he added. Barkindo thanked the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and Iraqi Oil Minister, Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail, and “the great country of Iraq for doing OPEC and the world this great favor.”

“We look forward to congregating here with all our member countries and our partners in the non-OPEC coalition and the international oil industry to celebrate this historic moment,” concluded Barkindo.

Five founding member countries – Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela – officially came together and met in Baghdad between September 10-14, 1960, to form the organization. Hosted by Iraq’s Prime Minister, General Abdul Karim Qasim, the conference has come to be known as the Baghdad Conference. 

Saleh Kubba representing Iraq at OPEC’s Biannual Meeting in Vienna, Austria 1965.

Many prominent Iraqi officials took part in assisting OPEC’s development in the early years. Several Iraqi delegates traveled to OPEC’s Geneva (1960-1965) and Vienna (1965-present) headquarters to attend conferences on behalf of Iraq. 

The following list recognizes Iraqis who have played an instrumental role in OPEC:

  • Dr. Talaat Al-Shaibani (Founding Head of Delegation, 1960)
  • Saleh Kubba (Founding Delegate, 1960; OPEC Conference President, 1966)
  • Abdullah Ismail (Founding Delegate, 1960)
  • Abdulrahman Al-Bazzaz (OPEC Secretary General, 1964-1965)
  • Dr. Rashid Al-Rifai (OPEC Conference President, 1968)
  • Nadhim Al-Pachachi (OPEC Secretary General, 1971-1972)

Today, OPEC plays a large role in the global oil market and currently has 13 members in the organization including – Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Venezuela, Iran, UAE, Algeria, Nigeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Libya.