Spanish – The situation of Citgo, PDVSA‘s largest oil subsidiary abroad, keeps in suspense not only Venezuela but also the creditors who expect to claim their share, among them Russia, which has 49.9% of the shares.
The fact that Russia is involved in the business represents a danger for US national security since in case it takes possession, the country governed by Vladimir Putin would become the second-largest foreign owner with refining capacity in the American Union.
This is no small feat, considering the troubled relations between the United States and Russia and Putin’s ambition to expand his tentacles beyond Russian borders.
When the negotiation of the 2020 bonds took place, Nicolás Maduro sold 50.1% of shares through bonds to private creditors. The other 49.9% of shares were traded with Rosneft, the Russian oil company.
An article published by The National Interest urges attention to what may happen with Russia and offers alternatives to Joe Biden in the interest of protecting American sovereignty.
Light at the end of the tunnel
Citgo has oil and gas pipelines across the US, some 5000 gas stations in 30 states, and three major refineries with the capacity to process 750,000 barrels of oil per day, making it the sixth-largest refinery network in the US.
The bonds negotiated by Chavismo are valid according to the sentence issued by the New York court in mid-October. Therefore, the possibility that Russia has to take over the subsidiary.
As an alternative, the article in The National Interest reports on a possibility in the American justice system. It is a matter of going to the Committee of Foreign Investment of the Treasury in the United States, in charge of reviewing “mergers or acquisitions.”
The committee could approve the purchase of Citgo shares by US entities, a task that would not be difficult given the profitability of Citgo and how undervalued its shares are at present, the article states.
The message goes directly to Joe Biden, whom he urges to maintain the ban on marketing that harms the company.
This purchase could also benefit Venezuela if the US puts as a condition that stakeholders use a portion of Citgo’s revenues to support the humanitarian crisis in the Caribbean nation.
Countries that receive Venezuelan migrants could also obtain resources, for example, Colombia, where there are currently more than 1.7 million Venezuelans, according to the most recent figure from Migración Colombia. It is the country in Latin America with the largest number of Venezuelans in this situation, according to UNHCR.
The US extends protection
The situation became tense when interim President Juan Guaidó, instead of negotiating with creditors, directly introduced a lawsuit to demand the invalidity of the bonds. The New York court rejected the argument and declared them “enforceable.”
The Citgo takeover is virtually a reality that has not been executed thanks to the protection of the US Treasury Department.
The measure, in force until January 2021, was again extended until July 21 of next year, giving the opportunity to find a new legal remedy to prevent the taking of the creditors.
Now, Juan Guiadó’s administration and the US government will have to continue exploring ways.