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Venezuela to sell off U.S. refinery

April 10, 2006
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Venezuela has decided to sell its Lyondell-Citgo refinery in Texas after long complaining that its U.S. refineries have not been profitable enough, the Associated Press reports. Houston-based Citgo Petroleum Corp., a wholly owned by Venezuela''s state oil company, and Lyondell Chemical Co. announced plans Thursday to sell their jointly owned, 268,000 barrel-a-day refinery in Houston. The two companies said in a statement they were taking steps to prepare an offering for interested bidders. President Hugo Chavez has said the Citgo refineries have been a bad deal for his oil-rich South American nation because they buy Venezuelan oil at a discount and pay taxes in the United States. The Venezuelan leader, who is a fierce critic of Washington, has repeatedly threatened to halt oil supplies to the U.S. and said his country is actively seeking new markets for its crude. The United States is Venezuela''s top buyer of oil. Venezuela, however, remains largely dependent on its U.S. refineries because its heavy crude can only be processed in a limited number of refineries elsewhere.

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