Pemex Executive at Center of Graft Probe Has Left Company

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A senior Petroleos Mexicanos executive who was at the center of a graft probe has retired from the company amid a restructuring of its exploration and production division.

Miguel Angel Lozada, Pemex’s former director of exploration and production, has retired, and the unit’s chief adviser Angel Cid Munguia is expected to replace him, at least temporarily, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. The people asked not be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

One of the people said that there were more than 10 staff changes within Pemex’s exploration and production division.

Lozada didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did a Pemex representative.

In 2019, the country’s Federal Comptroller reported that it detected omissions in Lozada’s asset declarations from 2014 to 2017. He was barred from public office for 10 years, but subsequently reinstated at Pemex following a suspension of the decision by a federal court.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has made fighting corruption at Pemex one of the major focal points of his administration. He’s ordered Pemex to cancel contracts with a firm controlled by one of his relatives, and prosecutors are investigating former top politicians in a bribery scandal that led to the arrest of ex-Pemex Chief Executive Officer Emilio Lozoya.

Pemex’s next chief of exploration and production faces a difficult task. The company has consistently failed to meet output targets and lacks funds to invest in new fields as debt has risen to $110.3 billion, the highest of any major oil company. At the same time, Lopez Obrador’s nationalist agenda has seen farm-out opportunities with Pemex halted, preventing it from finding partners to help develop more expensive and technically-complex areas that could enable it to boost output over the long term.

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