CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela is considering selling its oil refining and distribution network in the U.S. amid a worsening economic crisis.
Analysts say the proposed sale reflects the socialist government’s urgent cash shortage.
Last week, state-owned parent company Petroleos de Venezuela signaled its interest in a finding a buyer for the U.S.-based Citgo Petroleum Corp. in a bond prospectus. On Tuesday, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez confirmed Venezuela would sell Citgo if the price was right.
The company has long been an unloved stepchild of the revolution. Former President Hugo Chavez called Citgo a “bad business” and repeatedly floated the idea of selling U.S. petroleum assets, most recently in 2010.
It’s also been a political tool. Venezuela has used Citgo to give families across the U.S. free heating oil during the winter months.