BY ZACHARY FAGENSON
Aug 27 (Reuters) – A U.S. congressman urged the Obama administration on Wednesday to block the proposed sale by Venezuela’s state oil company of its North American refining unit Citgo, saying it would be against “vital national interests”.
Venezuela Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said earlier this month that the country aims to exit Citgo “as soon as we receive a proposal that serves our interests.”
Citgo has three U.S. refineries in Illinois, Louisiana and Texas with combined capacity of some 750,000 barrels per day, and it also has 48 terminals.
Flanked by Venezuelan opposition figures, U.S. Representative Joe Garcia said the proposed sale by Venezuela’s socialist-led government was “a huge concern.”
The value of Citgo, he said, was derived from the refiner’s links to Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA and the OPEC nation’s crude oil reserves, which are the biggest in the world.