Duncan, Sires Send Letter Urging Protection of U.S. Energy Security

Apr 6, 2017 Issues: Energy, Foreign Affairs

Washington, D.C. – Today, Chairman Jeff Duncan (SC-03) and Ranking Member Albio Sires (NJ-08) of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere sent a letter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury urging immediate attention to a potential threat to critical U.S. energy infrastructure as a result of a recent asset transfer between Venezuela’s PDVSA and Russia’s Rosneft. This development impacts PDVSA’s U.S.-based subsidiary, Citgo, and vital U.S. national security interests.

Chairman Duncan - “The United States has a clear national interest in achieving energy independence. The recent loan agreement between Russia and Venezuela involving Citgo refineries, pipelines, and terminals presents a clear threat to U.S. energy security. Given the uncertain economic and political situation in Venezuela, I am deeply concerned that a future default by Venezuela could result in Russian ownership of Citgo. This would give Russia clear control over the sixth-largest refinery in our country, the ability to impact gas prices for the American people, and a strategic advantage over U.S. freedom of action globally. Russia has made no secret of its ambitions to thwart the U.S., and it is using countries in the Western Hemisphere to accomplish its objectives. I urge CFIUS to review this recent transaction and take necessary action to protect our nation’s energy infrastructure.”

Ranking Member Sires“The Chairman and I recently held a hearing examining Venezuela’s collapse and in the days shortly after things went from bad to worse. Maduro continues to tighten his grip on the country by trying to dissolve the legislature and using violent tactics to suppress peaceful protestors who are trying desperately to have their voices heard and save their country. Given the troubling developments, I am hoping the Trump Administration is looking into what would happen if Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA collapses, giving a Russian oil company currently under U.S. sanctions a nearly 50% stake in Citgo. I urge them to pay close attention to this issue as it develops and work with Congress to protect American interests and values both here abroad.”

The text of the letter can be found HERE.

*Note: the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere held a hearing on March 28, 2017 related to this issue.