Rafael Ramirez is Minister for Energy & Petroleum and PDVSA President. He is Mechanical Engineer from the University of Los Andes, with a masterís degree in energy from the Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV). He began his career in PDVSA Intevep. He worked on improvement projects and expansion of the Cardon refinery and Liquefied Natural Gas in Nigeria and France. In February 2002 he was appointed external director of PDVSA and in July, Minister of Energy and Mines. In 2004 he was appointed president of PDVSA, a position which has been ratified, also exercising the title of Peopleís Minister for Energy and Petroleum.