GLOBAL ECONOMY

Venezuela says it's not selling U.S. refining unit Citgo

  • Pictured is the Elmesco Citgo in the Village of Cold Spring, New York where owner Kenny Elmes' plans to convert the service station into a Dunkin Donuts franchise has been delayed due to opposition from the town planning board.

    Pictured is the Elmesco Citgo in the Village of Cold Spring, New York where owner Kenny Elmes' plans to convert the service station into a Dunkin Donuts franchise has been delayed due to opposition from the town planning board.  (Putnam County News & Recorder/Chris Layton)

  • NILES, IL - OCTOBER 24:  Motorists pump gasoline into their vehicles at a Citgo gas station October 24, 2005 in Niles, Illinois. Gasoline prices on the retail level dropped in the past two weeks about 25-cents a gallon in the U.S.  (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

    NILES, IL - OCTOBER 24: Motorists pump gasoline into their vehicles at a Citgo gas station October 24, 2005 in Niles, Illinois. Gasoline prices on the retail level dropped in the past two weeks about 25-cents a gallon in the U.S. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)  (2005 Getty Images)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2006 file photo, Kenmore Square and the landmark Citgo sign are seen from the roof of the John Hancock Tower in Boston.  Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is up for re-election in 2012 and is already in campaign mode: promising new public housing complexes, ordering renovations for the long-neglected Caracas subway and budgeting more money for education, health care and social programs. Looking for cash, he has raised the possibility of selling off Venezuela's U.S.-based oil company Citgo Petroleum Corp.  (AP Photo/Robert E. Klein, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2006 file photo, Kenmore Square and the landmark Citgo sign are seen from the roof of the John Hancock Tower in Boston. Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is up for re-election in 2012 and is already in campaign mode: promising new public housing complexes, ordering renovations for the long-neglected Caracas subway and budgeting more money for education, health care and social programs. Looking for cash, he has raised the possibility of selling off Venezuela's U.S.-based oil company Citgo Petroleum Corp. (AP Photo/Robert E. Klein, File)

Citgo Petroleum, the U.S. unit of state-owned oil giant PDVSA, will not be sold, Economy and Finance Minister Rodolfo Marco said.

President Nicolas Maduro plans to bolster Citgo's operations, Marco said.

"Venezuela will stay with Citgo and continue making investments in its refineries ... the sale of Citgo has been ruled out and the president confirmed this," the minister said in an interview published over the weekend in the Caracas daily El Universal.

Citgo has a vast network of service stations and operates refineries in Texas, Illinois and Louisiana with a capacity of about 750,000 barrels per day (bpd).

"Our plans for Citgo are to strengthen it increasingly more, to form the alliances needed to strengthen that investment by Venezuela in the United States," Maduro said during an event last month in New York.

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Reports surfaced that a sale of Citgo might be in the works in August, when former Energy Minister and PDVSA chief Rafael Ramirez said he would unload the U.S. unit if a "convenient" offer came along.

Ramirez, who is now Venezuela's foreign minister, estimated that Citgo might be worth "a little more" than $10 billion.

PDVSA acquired a 50 percent interest in 1986 in Citgo, which was founded in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, in 1910, and the remainder of the stock four years later.

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