OPEC delegates said following a meeting at the organization’s headquarters in Vienna.
Saudi Aramco’s Omar Abdulhamid was appointed as the head of research, the second most senior post at OPEC after the secretary general, replacing Kuwait’s Hasan Qabazard.
The other candidate was Iran’s Hojatollah Ghanimifard.
Delegates said Abdulhamid was personally recommended by OPEC Secretary General Abdullah Al-Badri.
The secretary general is the main representative on the world stage of the producer group, helps formulate its output policy and is in charge of OPEC’s Vienna secretariat.
OPEC’s panel who met in Vienna, consisting of OPEC governors — officials who represent their countries on the board of governors — is only deciding criteria for the postholder.
Oil ministers will then have the tough task of appointing a candidate.
In a break with tradition, OPEC in December reappointed Al-Badri, a Libyan, for a third term after candidates from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq failed to gain a consensus.
OPEC delegates say that for now, the three candidates are still Saudi Arabia’s OPEC governor, Majid Al-Moneef; Thamir Ghadhban, energy adviser to Iraq’s prime minister; and former Iranian oil minister Gholam Hossein Nozari.
This could change, say OPEC delegates, once the issue goes before OPEC oil ministers at the group’s May 31 meeting in Vienna, where they will also decide OPEC’s output policy for the second half of 2013.
Some delegates believe that another compromise is needed to break the deadlock.
“I cant imagine that Saudi or Iran will win, a compromise must be reached with another country nominating a candidate,” said an OPEC delegate.