Citgo's Quarterly Net Profit Plummets 81% on Plant Outages, Margin Decline

(Reuters) — Venezuela-owned oil refiner Citgo Petroleum on Thursday reported fourth quarter net profit fell 81% to $154 million, from $806 million a year ago, on plant outages and weaker margins.

The company, which operates three U.S. refineries, reported full year 2023 profit was $2 billion, down from the $2.8 billion a year ago which was the largest in its history.

Its crude utilization rate, or how much oil its plants were able to process compared with full capacity, slipped to 89% last quarter on maintenance outages, from 95% in the third quarter, the company said.

"Strong demand, favorable market conditions and solid operational and commercial performance contributed to our second best annual financial performance in 2023," Citgo CEO Carlos Jordá said of full-year results in a statement.

The company faces a Delaware court-organized auction of shares in parent PDV Holding, whose only asset is Citgo, to repay billions of dollars in claims against Venezuela. The auction could force a change in Citgo's ownership.

The court has allowed creditor claims for expropriations in Venezuela and defaulted debt to be applied to expected proceeds from a proposed auction of shares in a parent of the South American country's foreign crown jewel.

The first round of bids drew indications of interest from 12 private investment funds and companies. A second bidding round is expected this year.

Overall throughput for its three refineries in Texas, Louisiana and Illinois fell 6% to 821,000 barrels per day in the final quarter, and each of the plants posted lower year-over-year profit, the company said.

The hardest hit was its Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery, which posted a $4 million operating loss, compared to a $234 million operating profit in the same period a year ago.

Quarterly adjusted profit for the company was $411 million, down from $1.2 billion a year ago. Its cash and borrowing power at year-end was $4 billion, up from $2.6 billion a year ago, the company said.

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