Washington — A US appeals court Monday again ruled against Venezuela in a case that could lead to state-owned PDVSA losing control of US refiner Citgo, its most valuable foreign asset.
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A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit said defunct Canadian gold miner Crystallex can go after PDVSA's shares in Citgo to collect on its $1.2-billion judgment related to Venezuela nationalizing its gold mine.
The court lifted a stay that had been blocking any further action since July, when judges initially ruled in Crystallex's favor.
US sanctions imposed against PDVSA in January blocked US imports of Venezuelan crude and exports of US diluent to Venezuela.
Venezuela produced 750,000 b/d of crude oil in August, down from 1.36 million b/d a year earlier, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
S&P Global Platts Analytics estimates Venezuelan output will fall to 600,000 b/d in September, from 900,000 b/d in June due to a lack of tankers and storage.
"The vicious circle of lower oil revenues, investment and production is accelerating," Platts Analytics chief geopolitical adviser Paul Sheldon said.
Before the sanctions, PDVSA depended on Citgo's three refineries for supply of refined products and diluent, and as an export destination for its crude. Citgo owns a 418,000 b/d refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana; a 157,000 b/d refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas; and a 179,265 b/d refinery in Lemont, Illinois.
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