Venezuela sets up Russians to gain U.S. oil-market stake

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Russia will aim to “profit” in the American oil market if it takes control of Citgo, as appears likely, according to a new report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The declaration came in an article published by the Russian media outlet Vestifinance.ru in response to expressions of concern in the United States, including by members of Congress, over the likely takeover of Houston, Texas-based Citgo by Russia’s state-owned oil company, Rosneft.

Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), owns a 49.9 percent interest in Citgo.

Two members of Congress wrote Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on April 6 expressing alarm that Venezuela had used its ownership of Citgo as collateral for a $1.5 billion loan from Russia.

Experts assess it’s likely Venezuela will default, which would give Rosneft that 49.9 percent interest, on the precipice of a controlling interest, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“All Rosneft would need for a majority share would be to buy a few more PDVSA bonds, thus clearing the 50 percent threshold of ownership,” the Vestifinance report said.

In the letter to the Treasury secretary, Reps. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., and Albio Sires, D-N.J., worried that such a transfer of power would be to “the detriment of U.S. interests.”

“This situation, if left unchecked, could severely undermine U.S. national security and energy independence,” they wrote. “If the event that the Venezuelan government defaults on its debt obligation to Rosneft, the Russian government could readily become the second-largest foreign owner of U.S. domestic refinery capacity. Such a development would give the Russians more control over oil and gas prices worldwide, inhibit U.S. energy security, and undermine broader U.S. geopolitical efforts.”

Nonsense, said the Vestifinance report.

“The concerns expressed by [the U.S] congressmen are rather strange,” it said. “What exactly is Rosneft going to do with three oil refineries? U.S. politicians believe that the Russian company will be able to take part in a conspiracy that will lead to a restriction of gasoline production, raise gas prices and thus cause damage to the U.S. national security or the American economy.

“This is plain silly. Even though Rosneft is a state-owned company, its purpose is still making profit, and it is not going to waste money for the illusory opportunity to harm the U.S. And the scenario offered by congressmen has no bearing on reality whatsoever,” it said.

For the rest of this report, and more, please go to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Venezuela sets up Russians to gain U.S. oil-market stake
Source: WND