Citgo to relocate headquarters to Houston

Apr 27, 2004 02:00 AM

Assured of $ 35 mm in financial incentives after nine months of negotiations with local leaders, Citgo Petroleum officials announced its plans to relocate its headquarters to Houston from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The energy giant's move would bring about 700 jobs to the Bayou City, where Citgo already has operations and offices. About 300 jobs would stay in Tulsa, in research, information technology, pipelines and accounting.
Citgo President Luis Marin told the company will receive a $ 5 mm grant from the state of Texas and $ 30 mm in loans with interest rates below 1 % from the cities of Houston and Corpus Christi, where Citgo has a major refinery. The relocation to the nation's energy capital would bring Citgo closer to its refineries in Corpus Christi and Lake Charles, Louisiana. Citgo is also a partner with Lyondell Chemical in a Houston-area refining operation.

Citgo is owned by PdV America, a subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, Venezuela's national oil company. Citgo, which is one of the largest gas retailers in the nation, employs 4,200 people. For months, city and state leaders have been hammering out an incentives package that would persuade Citgo officials to relocate here. Last year, Texas lawmakers set aside $ 295 mm to help the governor lure such businesses to the state.
"Citgo made the right choice for the relocation of their US headquarters," Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX said. Cornyn met last December with Marin and Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez separately to promote Houston.

Citgo officials have been touring Houston buildings for months in search of about 250,000 to 300,000-square feet of office space.
The move is one more blow to Oklahoma's energy industry, which lost Phillips Petroleum to Houston in 2002. That company merged with Conoco and relocated from Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Source: Houston Chronicle
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