The Trump administration has extended a measure blocking holders of crisis-torn Venezuela’s debt from liquidating its U.S.-based Citgo refineries as payment
The protections had been set to expire on Jan. 19, a day before Biden takes office.
Venezuela has owned Citgo since the 1980s as part of the state-run oil company PDVSA. It has three refineries in Louisiana, Texas and Illinois in addition to a network of pipelines crisscrossing 23 states. It provides between 5% and 10% of U.S. gasoline.
President Nicolás Maduro in 2016 put Citgo up as collateral in an ill-advised debt swap. Bondholders want to sell off Citgo as payment after Venezuela defaulted.
Citgo is Venezuela’s most valuable foreign asset, and Guaidó’s coalition of U.S.-backed lawmakers views the Houston-based Citgo as a way to fund the crisis-torn nation’s recovery — if Maduro ever leaves power.
Maduro accuses the opposition of illegally getting control of Citgo, saying it is part of an “imperialist” attempt to install Guaidó as a “puppet” leader to take advantage of Venezuela’s vast resources.