18 August 2015, News Wires – Venezuela has restored the dual role of oil minister and head of state player PDVSA that was separated less than a year ago.
Eulogio del Pino is to take over as oil minister from Asdrubal Chavez, with the cousin of late country leader Hugo Chavez set to run for parliament at the end of the year.
Del Pino only took over as president of PDVSA in September last year after previous head Rafael Ramirez was axed from the dual role of oil company boss and oil minister and moved to head up the foreign ministry.
Previously upstream director at PDVSA, Stanford-educated geophysicist del Pino is seen as one of the most technically capable Venezuelans high up in the oil industry.
Ramirez was the main architect of an unpopular plan to raise the country’s heavily subsidised oil prices. His demotion was also said to be partly related to the severe stresses placed on Petrocaribe, a geopolitically-driven project under which PDVSA supplies nations in the region with crude underpinned by soft loans or favourable purchase arrangements.
Stagnating Venezuelan oil production and a malfunctioning economy have made the Petrocaribe commitments less bearable.