The U.S. has again extended protection to refiner Citgo Petroleum from creditors for another three months. The company is Venezuela’s prized international asset.
The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) extended general license 5L, which prohibits transactions related to state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela’s (PDVSA) 2020 bonds, until Oct. 20, 2023, the agency said July 19 in a press release.
The bonds, issued by PDVSA without the approval of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, have a lien on 50.1% of Citgo's shares. Since PDVSA has defaulted on payments, bond holders continue to wait to get paid or compensated via a Citgo asset divestment.
Amid Venezuela’s ongoing political uncertainties, Washington’s push for “free and fair” presidential elections in 2024 and an eventual regime change, the U.S. government continues to shield Citgo from a liquidation proceeding as well as from the regime of Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro in hopes of turning over control of the refiner to a U.S.-friendly government in Caracas.
Companies such as U.S.-based producer ConocoPhillips and Canadia-based miner Crystallex International Corp. are also in queue to collect payments long owed to them by Venezuela’s government due to wrongful asset expropriations.
Houston-based Citgo is PDVSA’s U.S. refining subsidiary and owns and operates three refineries with a refining capacity of 807,000 bbl/d in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Corpus Christi, Texas, and Lemont, Illinois.