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Citgo Might Go Belly Up, and Russia Will Pick Up the Slack

By Motley Fool Staff - Apr 18, 2017 at 11:16AM

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One of the top 10 oil refiners in the United States might be owned by Russian oil giant Rosneft soon.

In this clip from Industry Focus: Energy, Motley Fool analysts Sean O'Reilly and Taylor Muckerman explain how Russia might end up taking over one of the biggest petroleum refiners in the United States.

A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on April 13, 2017.

Sean O'Reilly: Last night, Taylor, you sent me a really cool article about Russia, not about our government --

Taylor Muckerman: Yeah, not about government ties.

O'Reilly: -- not about anything going on in the world. But, they're trying to take over my local gas station. What going on here? That's not cool.

Muckerman: You might have heard of Citgo Petroleum, one of the top 10 petroleum refiners in the United States.

O'Reilly: They're actually owned by Venezuela.

Muckerman: Yes, they are owned by Venezuela.

O'Reilly: Or, we should say, state run.

Muckerman: What is it, PDVSA? The state-owned oil company down there. Unfortunately for them, they're not doing so well because of oil prices --

O'Reilly: Which were all connected by the circle of life, you'll remember that Venezuela was one of the countries begging OPEC to cut production, like, "We need higher oil prices, we're bleeding money!"

Muckerman: So they're close to defaulting on some debt that Russia owns. And as a condition of that loan, they can take over PDVSA's stake in Citgo Petroleum.

O'Reilly: This feels like Chapter 11, but on an international scale. I didn't know that was how it works.

Muckerman: Rosneft, not Russia the country, but Rosneft, which has close ties to the government -- we're not going to get into that -- but they pledged a 49.9% stake in the company if they defaulted, as their collateral. So it's not a majority stake, but it's darn near close.

O'Reilly: Plus, it's Putin.

Muckerman: It's close enough. CEO Igor Sechin, has long been considered Putin's right-hand man. So, an interesting little tidbit. Still waters run deep in the oil industry.

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