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Citgo Petroleum Corporation Lobbying the Department of Energy

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The PDVSA has Spent 380,000 USD on Lobbying in 2022

Author Erin Gerhart

The Citgo Petroleum Corporation (Citgo) was founded in 1910 by Henry Doherty and was focused on the natural gas industry. Then called the Cities Service Co., the company shifted its focus on the oil industry in 1915, and in 1965 the company rebranded itself as Citgo the name it goes by today. In 1986 nearly half of the company was owned by Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), and the remaining half was acquired in 1990. Oil revenue from PDVSA comprised nearly half of the Venezuelan state’s budget which was channeled by Chavez into ambitious social projects. A lot has happened since then including a change of president for the country of Venezuela, but today the focus is on the U.S.’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

Contracts for the purchase of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was approved in November of this year for twelve companies.

Michael Rosen was hired by Citgo to lobby on behalf of the U.S.’s SPR, known as the world’s largest supply of emergency crude oil. With a storage capacity greater than seven-hundred million barrels, the SPR was established to reduce the impact of supply disruptions and carry out U.S. obligations under the international energy program.

One bill of interest that was recently introduced to the House of Representatives is H.R. 7963, known as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve Replenishment Act. A rather succinct document, the bill would require the Secretary of Energy to acquire – by purchase, exchange, or otherwise – a minimum of 3,600,000 barrels of petroleum products for for storage in the SPR. 

A second bill of interest, introduced to the Senate in July of this year, is S. 4651. This bill would limit the sale and exportation of petroleum products from the SPR to state-owned entities under certain circumstances set by the Department of Energy (DoE). Functionally, the circumstances ensure that no state (country) who has purchased petroleum products from countries subject to U.S. bans and sanctions.

Rising Gas Prices: Why Release Any Reserves?

The U.S. President announced late in 2021 that petroleum reserves would be released from the SPR in an attempt to lower booming gas prices caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As the global economy recovers, demands for petroleum products rapidly outpaced the supply, causing prices to skyrocket. In November 2021, the White House announced it will make fifty million barrels from the SPR available. More detailed information can be found here.

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