Reporting by Gary McWilliams, Reuters
EnergiesNet.com 08 18 2023
Venezuela is making a last ditch attempt to limit the number of companies that could participate in a court-ordered auction of shares in a parent of oil refiner Citgo Petroleum, appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s ruling.
About two dozen companies including ConocoPhillips (COP.N), Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) and Tenaris SA (TENR.MI) are seeking to have claims against Venezuela or state-owned oil firm PDVSA satisfied by the sale of shares in PDV Holding, one of Citgo’s parent companies. About $20 billion in claims are pending.
The lower court’s finding that PDVSA is the “alter ego” of Venezuela “creates a very real risk that petitioner PDVSA’s principal asset in the United States — the shares through which it indirectly owns 100% of CITGO Petroleum Corporation — will be sold off by next summer,” said the petition filed on Wednesday.
Venezuela’s petition is asking the Supreme Court to find the lower court’s “alter ego” decision was faulty. The Third Circuit last month upheld a ruling that paved way for six companies to attach claims totaling $3.4 billion to an ongoing suit.
The petition is a long shot with about 90% of such requests denied by the court. It does not affect the case against Venezuela filed by miner Crystallex International, whose $970 million claim led to the proposed auction of shares.
The petition seeks to have briefs filed by September 15 – just ahead of the start of the proposed auction.
Citgo is the seventh-largest U.S. oil refiner with a retail network of over 4,400 outlets and processing plants in Illinois, Louisiana and Texas. A Delaware court judge has set Oct. 23 as the start date for the auction.
The Houston-based firm split from PDVSA in 2019 after the U.S. imposed sanctions intended to oust President Nicolas Maduro, and has been under the control of a supervisory board appointed to look after the country’s foreign assets.
Reporting by Gary McWilliams, editing by Deepa Babington and David Gregorio
reuters.com 08 17 2023