One day after resolving their production issues, OPEC ministers failed in sorting out a one-year-old controversy over choosing their new secretary general.
OPEC also had little time to bask in its decision to boost output by 800,000 b/d on September 10th, with crude prices recovering to overtake last weeks highs, as markets interpreted the increase as too little.
The ministers ended a short meeting on September 11th deadlocked over selecting a new head of the OPEC secretariat from three candidates and saying that they will attempt to resolve the stalemate when they next meet in Vienna on November 12th.
The group failed to vote unanimously on one candidate as required by OPEC statutes from their choice of Saudi Arabia’s OPEC Governor Suleiman Herbish, Iran’s OPEC Governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili and Iraqi U.N. Ambassador Abdul-Amir al-Anbari.
The oil cartel had been unable at three previous meetings to reach agreement on a successor to OPEC Secretary General Rilwanu Lukman and he has been asked to stay on until at least the November gathering.
Iraq and several other members opposed the notion of a Saudi secretary general, believing that he would be influenced by “outside interests”, one OPEC delegate tells Oil Navigator™ in Vienna. Riyadh has not wanted an Iranian or Iraqi to secure the job.
Under OPEC statutes, if the ministers are unable to unanimously select a new secretary general, they are then obliged to turn to a rotational system, choosing either alphabetically from the five founding members, which would start with Iran, followed by Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, or beginning with Algeria, and running though the remaining 10 OPEC members to Venezuela.
Under this system, each country’s representative for secretary general would hold down the job for two years.
Saudi Arabia, however, was opposed to reverting to this system. Lukman, who would be completing his second three-year term on January 1, 2001, had asked to be replaced when he was named oil advisor to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in June 1999.
( oilnavigator )