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Venezuela’s PDVSA May Sell Portions of Citgo

From Reuters

Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA may sell some parts of Citgo Petroleum Corp., its U.S. refining and marketing affiliate, PDVSA’s new president said Sunday.

“We’re looking at it,” said Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela’s energy minister and the newly named president of PDVSA, in an interview with local television in Caracas. “It depends on the review we make. We’ll see what suits us and what doesn’t.”

Ramirez, who was appointed PDVSA chief by President Hugo Chavez on Nov. 20, said “some parts” of the Citgo operations could be sold.

Venezuela, the world’s No. 5 oil exporter and a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is a leading supplier of crude oil and refined products to the United States.

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Through Citgo, PDVSA operates a network of U.S. refineries and more than 15,000 gasoline stations.

PDVSA, the state-owned oil company formally known as Petroleos de Venezuela, also has shares in European refineries in Germany, Sweden, Belgium and Britain.

“I think there are some things which don’t suit us, not just in Citgo, but above all in Europe,” Ramirez said.

Since left-winger Chavez survived a crippling strike at PDVSA staged by political opponents in late 2002 and early 2003, he has moved to tighten government control over the state oil giant.

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Citgo said earlier this month its third-quarter profit doubled on increased use of cheaper heavy crude oil when U.S. gasoline prices were riding high. In late October, U.S. crude futures hit an all-time high of $55.67 a barrel.

Net income jumped to $205 million from $103 million a year earlier, Houston-based Citgo said.


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