Aruba ends contract with Citgo to renovate and operate oil refinery

Aruba reached an agreement on Wednesday with Citgo Petroleum Corp, a US subsidiary of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, to end its contract to renovate and operate the island’s refinery, the prime minister of the Caribbean nation said in a statement.

Aruba plans to seek external candidates to take over the 209,000 barrel per day refinery, Prime Minister Evelyn Wever-Croes announced. The facility has been inactive due to US sanctions against PDVSA.

“It took a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of energy, but Citgo finally admitted that it had no capacity to comply with the agreements,” Wever-Croes said in a statement.

A Citgo spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In 2016 Citgo and Aruba, agreed to a 25-year contract to restore and reopen the plant, which had been standing since 2012 after its former operator, the American Valero Energy Corp, left the business because of the low profitability.

The review of the plant, which initially received funds from Citgo and PDVSA, had made little progress since the United States issued a first round of sanctions against the Venezuelan state company two years ago.

Earlier this year, another series of punitive measures in Washington left the refinery without access to credit.

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