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A U.S. federal court has set January 22, 2024, as the start of the first bidding round for creditors and claimants against Venezuela’s oil asset appropriation and debts owed by Venezuela’s U.S.-based refiner Citgo, Reuters reports, citing court documents.
The auction of shares of Citgo Petroleum’s parent company PDV Holding will be launched later this month and is expected to take one year.
Overall, creditors and claimants have sought to recoup at courts in Delaware a total of $23 billion in claims and arbitration awards against Venezuela.
The first round of bidding is now set for January 22 and the final round – for May 20, 2024. Before each round, the court will have to clear a list of claimants for participation in the share auction who have obtained writs of attachment.
Citgo is the seventh-largest refiner in the United States with a total capacity topping 800,000 barrels daily. It has plants in Texas, Louisiana, and Illinois, along with pipelines and a gasoline distribution network that supplies 4,200 outlets in the United States.
First in line, when the court-ordered share sale takes place, would be Canadian Crystallex.
The miner was the first company to make a claim against PDVSA after Venezuela nationalized a gold mine it operated in the country. An arbitration court awarded Crystallex $1.4 billion in damages several years ago and the company agreed to the sum.
Since then, PDVSA has made some payments to the Canadian miner and now it is due around $1 billion, media have reported earlier.
ConocoPhillips will also be near the front of the line to recoup costs associated with Venezuela’s expropriation of two of its crude oil projects.
The United States has for years protected Citgo from being broken up and sold off, and Venezuela was holding out hope that its license that protects the refinery would be renewed past its July 19 expiry. The license was indeed renewed until October 19.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.