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Venezuela's interim president Juan Guaidó to name heads of Citgo, PDV



By Argus


Petroleumworld 01 25 2019

The next battlefield in the escalating conflict over the presidency of Venezuela is Citgo, the US refining subsidiary of Venezuelan state-owned oil company PdV.

Juan Guaidó, whom the US, Canada and most of Latin America now recognize as Venezuela's interim president, plans to name a new Citgo chief executive and board of directors, a legislative aide at the National Assembly tells Argus .

Guaidó, who chairs the elected assembly, yesterday swore an oath of office before throngs of supporters in Caracas to serve as acting president of Venezuela in place of "usurper" Nicolas Maduro. Russia, China, Turkey, Cuba and Bolivia reject Guaidó´s claim on the presidency, and the EU is mostly cautious so far.

Houston-based Citgo is PdV's most valuable overseas asset, but 100pc of its indirect equity is pledged as guarantees for a PdV 2020 bond and a $1.5bn loan from Russian state-controlled Rosneft in 2016. The refiner has 750,000 b/d of processing capacity plus associated midstream infrastructure and storage.

Citgo's current chief executive Asdrubal Chavez a cousin of Venezuela´s late president Hugo Chavez -- has been barred from entering the US since the State Department revoked his visa in July 2018. His current whereabouts are unknown, but he is thought to spend part of his time at Citgo´s Aruba branch.

Guaidó is also weighing potential candidates for the posts of oil minister and PdV chief executive, the assembly aide said. A new PdV board of directors comprised of experienced oil executives will also be named soon.

PdV and the oil ministry are currently headed by Manuel Quevedo, a national guard major general who is blamed for the loss of more than 500,000 b/d of production in 2018. Maduro maintains the support of the military´s top ranks that control large swaths of the economy.

Guaidó is seeking to acquire control of government assets including PdV's holdings outside Venezuela as he tries to establish a new government.

Senior officials at the oil ministry and PdV were not immediately available for comment on Guaidó´s plans to appoint new authorities to run the oil industry.

Citgo could not be reached for comment.



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