Ecuador's oil and mining minister Galo Chiriboga has stepped down suddenly, as the country tries to change the way it does business with oil companies.
Chiriboga has been behind an effort to get Ecuador's oil companies to turn over to the state all the oil they find, in exchange for a flat fee.
He had been criticized for the slow pace of negotiations with the oil companies on changing their contracts.
President Rafael Correa replaced Chiriboga with the minister of strategic affairs, Derlis Palacios.
This was the first move in an expected series of changes after Mr. Correa won a vote of confidence in a September 28 referendum.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.