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Venezuelan general named energy minister, PdV head

27 Nov 2017, 12.28 am GMT

Venezuelan general named energy minister, PdV head

Bogota, 27 November (Argus) — Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has appointed a military general to serve as energy minister and chief executive of state-owned oil company PdV.

The move, part of a wider cabinet shakeup, further consolidates the military's role in the strategic oil industry at a time when the government is cracking down on corruption and a decline in oil production is accelerating.

Maduro said general Manuel Quevedo will lead a restructuring of the oil industry, which accounts for nearly all of the Venezuelan government's revenue.

Queveda replaces Nelson Martinez as head of PdV and Eulogio Del Pino as energy minister. Both are industry veterans who regularly expressed political loyalty to Maduro's government.

The general's appointment comes just days before a 30 November Opec meeting in Vienna and follows a string of high-level corruption-related arrests in Caracas, including those of six senior executives of PdV's US downstream subsidiary Citgo last week.

Quevedo takes the industry helm at a time of intense financial pressure on PdV, which is in partial default on bond debt that it blames on US financial sanctions imposed in August.

Upon announcing the appointment today, the office of the presidency said Maduro will sign an agreement with PdV workers on 28 November for the "support, recovery and transformation" of the company, with a "commitment to eradicate corruption."

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