Kuwait’s candidate has widespread support for top OPEC job: Reuters

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Kuwait's candidate to lead the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has widespread support from the group, with current secretary general Mohammad Barkindo not expected to seek re-election, two sources told Reuters.

Haitham al-Ghais, a former Kuwaiti governor to OPEC, is the only candidate for the role of secretary general, the two sources added.

OPEC is expected to elect a new secretary general at its meeting on Jan. 4, a third source said.

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Nigerian Barkindo, who is due to step down at the end of next July, took OPEC's top job in mid-2016 and was granted a second three-year term in 2019.

Barkindo has steered OPEC through a period of extreme turbulence, in which prices have crashed several times, including to below zero in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He also helped to clinch a deal with non-OPEC producers such as Russia to reduce global oil output to balance the market since 2016.

The new secretary general will have to balance OPEC revenue needs against pressures from the US to pump more oil to help to meet demand as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are some of the closest US allies in the Middle East

Al-Ghais stepped down as Kuwait's OPEC governor in June this year and was appointed deputy managing director of international marketing at state-owned Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC).

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