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Oct 9 (Reuters) – Aruba on Wednesday reached an agreement with U.S. based Citgo Petroleum Corp to end its contract to refurbish and operate the island’s refinery, a statement from the island’s prime minister said.
The Caribbean nation plans to pursue outside candidates to take over the 209,000 barrel per day refinery, said Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes. The refinery has been idled due to U.S. sanctions on Citgo’s parent, Venezuelan state oil firm PDVSA.
“It took a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of energy but finally Citgo admitted that it had no ability to comply with the agreements,” Wever-Croes said in a statement.
A Citgo spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Citgo and Aruba in 2016 agreed to a 25-year contract to refurbish and reopen the facility, which had been idled since 2012 after its former operator, U.S.-based Valero Energy Corp , abandoned it due to weak profits.
The plant’s $685 million overhaul, which had received initial funding from Citgo and PDVSA, had made little progress since the United States two years ago issued a first round of sanctions on the Venezuelan state oil company. Earlier this year, another round of U.S. sanctions left the refinery without access to credit.
Reporting by Sailu Urribarri; writing by Gary McWilliams,
Editing by Bernadette Baum
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