Venezuela’s troubled state oil firm PDVSA has a new man at the top after a surprise move by national President Nicolas Maduro to appoint a major general of the National Guard to lead the company and the oil ministry, according to Reuters.
Major General Manuel Quevedo has been tasked by Maduro with digging PDVSA and the energy sector out of its prolonged slump in the two-hat role of President of PDVSA and Minister of Petroleum.
But industry analysts are puzzled by the move because Quevedo has no energy industry experience.
Some say Quevedo’s main roles may be to root out corruption and reshuffle the board at PDVSA while restructuring the firm’s debt.
PDVSA (properly named Petroleos de Venezuela SA) has been in turmoil, defaulting on bond debts and allegedly not paying bills while oil production suffers through mismanagement and equipment failures.
The company’s problems have paralleled the wider economic and societal woes plaguing Venezuela, despite it having the world’s biggest crude oil reserves, much of them offshore.
Last week six executives of Venezuelan-owned American refiner Citgo were arrested in Caracas on graft charges.