CARACAS, April 28 Venezuela has promoted Jose
Pereira to interim president of Citgo, the U.S. refining and
marketing unit of the nation's state oil company PDVSA, the
government said in its Official Gazette on Friday.
Pereira, who was formerly Citgo's vice president of finance,
replaces Nelson Martinez, who was named Venezuela's oil minister
Citgo owns three refineries and a network of terminals and
pipelines in the United States.
PDVSA's use of Citgo assets to guarantee financial
transactions, including a 2016 bond swap and a loan from Russian
oil company Rosneft, has generated controversy both in
Venezuela and in the United States.
Since last year, Citgo has increased the supply of crude and
fuel to PDVSA through its Citgo LDC Supply International
subsidiary, helping Venezuela get the fuel it needs amid low
output at its domestic refining network.
Critics of President Nicolas Maduro say his government is
pawning state assets without the permission of the legislature.
A group of U.S. senators expressed concern this month that the
Rosneft operation with Citgo might help Russia gain ownership
over energy infrastructure in the United States.
Venezuelan officials have defended the operation as
transparent and legal.
(Reporting by Corina Pons; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing
by Lisa Von Ahn)