(Argus, 7.Dec.2020) — Venezuela’s opposition-controlled National Assembly named another oil industry veteran to chair a shadow board of Venezuela’s national oil company PdV.
The key appointment comes on the eve of tomorrow’s disputed National Assembly elections that are widely expected to cement the power of President Nicolas Maduro.
The US-backed opposition led by Juan Guaido is boycotting the elections because of a lack of free and fair conditions. Several Western governments have said they will not recognize the electoral outcome.
However flawed in its origins, the new assembly that takes over in early January will threaten Guaido’s constitutional claim to an interim presidency that he first declared in January 2019. Later that month, the US imposed oil sanctions on Venezuela in a campaign to unseat Maduro.
Horacio Medina, a Miami-based petroleum engineer who was already a member of the exiled PdV board, replaced Luis Pacheco as board chair. Both are former senior PdV executives.
Pacheco, based in Bogotá, had already resigned in September, joining a flight of technocrats from the exile ranks of Guaido’s skeleton interim administration.
Pacheco had agreed to remain in the post until a new chair was named to replace him. He was first appointed in April 2019.
The ad hoc PdV board serves as a vehicle for the legal defense of PdV’s US refining subsidiary Citgo. In a controversial 2016 swap operation, the Maduro government pledged a majority of Citgo shares as collateral for PdV 2020 bonds, which fell into default last year.
The board has also served to promote proposed hydrocarbons legislation designed to attract foreign investment and revive the Opec country’s once-thriving oil industry as an anchor for reconstruction.
By Patricia Garip