Venezuela’s petroleum minister, Tareck El Aissami, tendered his resignation on March 20, citing plans to assist in the investigative process regarding corruption at state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

“By virtue of investigations initiated into serious acts of corruption in PDVSA, I’ve made the decision to present my resignation as minister of petroleum, with the purpose of fully supporting, accompanying and backing this process,” El Aissami said March 20 in a post on Twitter.

The government official extended his services to Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro in a crusade to stamp out corruption at the Caracas-based energy giant.

It is unclear who will replace El Aissami and Venezuela’s Communication Ministry didn’t immediately reply to an email request from Hart Energy seeking details around the development.

PDVSA has suffered from a mismanagement of oil rents first under late President Hugo Chávez, who served in office from 1999 to 2013, and now under Maduro (2013 to the present).

For the better part of two-decades, foreign partners have struggled with corruption at PDVSA and the petroleum ministry, which has impacted E&Ps investment decisions and ability to stop production declines. U.S. sanctions imposed on Venezuela in early 2019 resulted in further production declines and near complete collapse in production.

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Venezuela, home to the world’s largest oil reserves, produced just around 700,000 bbl/d in Feb. 2023, according to OPEC data based on secondary sources, down from 3.2 MMbbl/d in 1997.