Maduro says taps military officer to 'clean up' state oil company PDVSA

Maduro says taps military officer to 'clean up' state oil company PDVSA”

President Nicolas Maduro has tapped a high-ranking general to lead Venezuela's struggling state oil company.

"The time for a new oil revolution has come", leftist Maduro said in his weekly televised address, urging Major General Manuel Quevedo to purge PDVSA of graft and to boost oil production, improve refineries, and increase local gasoline supplies.

Maduro affirmed that the year 2018 will be a break from the oil model towards other economic sectors.

Quevedo takes over from two industry veterans to become one of the most powerful players in the country, which is home to the world's largest crude reserves.

Failure to complete payment on PDVSA's 2020 bond by Monday could allow bondholders to begin the process of seeking shares in Citgo - a PDVSA subsidiary that generates hard currency for the cash-strapped country. Around 50 managers at state oil company PDVSA have been arrested since August. He will have to tackle corruption scandals and an attempted debt restructuring, within the context of a deep recession and debilitating U.S. sanctions.

Venezuela's oil industry has been hurt by underinvestment, chronic theft, a loss of people with industry experience and training, and shortages of spare parts.

One PDVSA source, who asked not to be named, said a PDVSA board reshuffle was due in the next few days.

He is taking over at Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (commonly known as PDVSA) from chemist Nelson Martinez and at the oil ministry from engineer Eulogio Del Pino.

Quevedo also faces accusations from the opposition of violating human rights during the National Guard's handling of anti-Maduro protests.

Francisco Monaldi, a fellow in Latin American energy policy at the Baker Institute in Houston, opined, "The military has finally achieved its objective of controlling PDVSA".

PDVSA is closely allied with Russian state oil giant Rosneft and state-owned oil major China National Petroleum Corp, although Western oil companies like U.S. major Chevron and France's Total also operate in Venezuela.

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