Venezuela Oil Minister Rafael Ramírez (Image courtesy of the Venezuela Embassy, Washington, DC)

Venezuela may sell its U.S. oil refining and distribution assets to help ease the government’s cash crunch.

State-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA said last week in a bond offering document that it wants to find a buyer for U.S.-based Citgo Petroleum Corp.

On Tuesday, Oil Minister Rafael Ramírez confirmed Venezuela could sell Citgo based on price.

Ramírez said the sale wouldn’t happen at a price of less than $10 billion.

“Their value is much, much more,” he told Bloomberg. “We are not a refining company, we’re an oil producing company.”

Citgo, based in Houston, is a subsidiary of PDVSA.

It owns three refineries with a total capacity of 749,000 barrels a day in Louisiana, Texas and Illinois, and operates 6,000 gas stations.

The company also donates heating oil to 200,000 low-income families in the United States during winters.


  1. I would like to see the Brazilian energy company Ultrapar (UGP NYSE) make a bid. They could offer something like $3 billion in cash and $7 billion in Ultrapar common stock. With proxy wavers attached to the stock even the subsequent 35% ownership of Ultrapar by Venezuela (PDVSA) would most likely remove any sanctions etc from Citgo.

    Such a combined offer would allow both current Ultrapar shareholders and PDVSA to benefit from the most likely rise in stock price because of the low initial cost. Thus PDVSA could get instant liquidity value plus the ability to sell blocks of UGP into the market in the coming months and years. Hopefully some or all the purchasers of those blocks would be more South and Central American based organizations.

    Selling to a South American petroleum retailer and refiner would tend to continue purchases of Venezuelan crude for use across the Americans into the future.

    Ultrapar could then also dramatically shift from a mostly Brazilian retailer to much more geographically and currency diverse pan Americas organization.

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