PDVSA Said to Replace Refining Managers as Shakeup Deepens

  • Changes come after Maduro replaced top managers in January
  • Maduro said last month board fighting corruption, high costs

Venezuela’s state oil company is replacing high-level managers at refining complexes and other divisions as it deepens a shake-up that began in January, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Managers at several of Petroleos de Venezuela SA’s major refineries have been replaced in the past weeks, Ivan Freites, a union leader, said Monday in a telephone interview. Widespread staffing changes across PDVSA, as the company is known, were confirmed by another person who works with PDVSA but isn’t authorized to speak about the matter publicly. Officials at the company’s press office and energy ministry declined to comment.

The managerial changes come months after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro added two board members and installed new executives at PDVSA, including a rear admiral. In January, Maduro gave the job of oil minister -- a position that was formerly held by PDVSA President Eulogio Del Pino -- to Nelson Martinez, head of PDVSA’s Citgo Petroleum Corp. unit in the U.S.

“We’re going to have good news soon, because with the new PDVSA board we are fighting against corruption and unnecessary costs,” Maduro said on February 21.

Venezuela, a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, has seen its crude oil output tumble as the seizure of foreign assets, volatile crude prices and a heavy debt load sapped investment. PDVSA has turned to importing lighter oils to blend with heavy crude from Venezuela’s Orinoco Belt and is shipping fewer refined products as its outdated infrastructure buckles and output contracts.

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