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Citgo to Stop Selling Gas to U.S. Stations

July 18, 2006

CARACAS, VENEZUELA—Venezuela-owned Citgo Petroleum Corp. has decided to stop distributing gasoline to some 1,800 U.S. stations, due to poor performance in this segment, according to the Associated Press. While some gasoline retailers will have to scramble to find a new supplier, the move should not have any impact on the nation’s overall fuel supply.Citgo, which is wholly owned by Venezuela’s state oil company, currently has to purchase 130,000 barrels a day from third parties in order to meet its service contracts at 13,100 stations across the United States. This is less profitable than selling gasoline directly from its refineries. Instead, the Houston-based company has decided to sell to retailers only the 750,000 barrels a day that it produces at three U.S. refineries in Lake Charles, La., Corpus Christi, Tex., and Lemont, Ill., according to the report.

Over the next year, Citgo will cease distributing gasoline in 10 states and stop supplying some stations in four additional states. The states where Citgo will stop selling gasoline are: Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. A limited number of stations in Illinois, Texas, Arkansas, and Iowa will also be affected.

Venezuela is the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter and the U.S. is its top buyer. The United States relied on Venezuela for about 11 percent of its oil supply in 2005.

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