Abdalla El-Badri was born in Ghemines, Libya, and began his oil industry career in 1965 with Esso. He graduated cum laude from Florida Southern College in 1975 with a B.S. in accounting. He served as the Libyan Minister for Oil from 1990, the post being expanded to cover electricity in 1993. In 2000, he moved to become Under-Secretary for Services, then in 2002 he became Deputy Prime Minister. From 2002 to 2004, he served as Minister for Management.
OPEC selected Nigeria's Mohammed Barkindo to succeed el-Badri as Secretary General, effective 1 August 2016. One of their predecessors was Omar el-Badri who held the position in 1970, although OPEC does not disclose any relation between its two Libyan Secretaries General with the same family name.