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U.S.-based Venezuelan-owned oil refiner Citgo Petroleum has posted Q3 earnings showing a 19% jump in net profit, year-on-year, on strong margins and after a significant hike in utilization rates. Citgo’s Q3 net profit hit $567 million, up from $477 million in Q3 2022.
The refiner’s total throughput for the quarter was 802,000 barrels per day, with crude runs accounting for 765,000 bpd, according to a Citgo press release on Thursday, putting the utilization rate at 95%. This compares to Q2 2023 total throughput of 804,000 bpd with crude runs of 761,000 bpd and a utilization rate of 94%. Q3 marked the fourth quarter in a row where Citgo’s utilization rate increased.
The higher earnings come amid a high level of uncertainty about the refiner’s future in an ongoing court auction that could lead to its breakup. Citgo has a total capacity of around 800,000 barrels per day, with plants in Texas, Louisiana, and Illinois, in addition to pipelines and a gasoline distribution network supplying 4,200 outlets across the country.
The auction for the assets of Houston-based Citgo–the seventh-largest refiner in the U.S.--began on October 23 when four years of protection from the U.S. federal government against creditors and loss claimants came to an end. Creditors have $23 billion in claims against Citgo over losses suffered in the 90s due to Hugo Chavez’s nationalization drive. The auction is expected to raise as much as $13 billion.
The October 23rd auction was the first of three rounds.
The second round will be held on January 22 and the final round on May 20. In October, Reuters reported that potential bidders could include the likes of Marathon Petroleum and Koch Industries, among others. This week, Reuters noted that Marathon, HF Sinclair and PBF Energy had all indicated they were not interested in the auction or were not looking for acquisitions at this time.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com