HOUSTON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Venezuelan PDVSA's unit in the United States, Citgo Petroleum, is working to restart some processing units at the Aruba refinery under a 25-year lease contract with the government of the Caribbean island, sources at the facility and firms involved told Reuters on Saturday.
The Aruba refinery's former operator, Valero Energy, has not been involved in the negotiations between Citgo and the government, but the island has guaranteed the U.S. firm that it will walk away from the refinery with zero environmental liability and without obligation to dismantle the facility.
A source from the refinery, with capacity to run 235,000 barrels per day of crude, said a technical team has been working since September on the facility's new configuration, including equipment replacement. Other sources added the process of hiring staff and contractors is about to begin.
It was not immediately clear when the units would be restarted, the sources said.
Officials in Aruba could not be reached. Citgo and PDVSA did not immediately comment. Valero said it would not comment on business negotiations. (Reporting by Marianna Parraga and Erwin Seba; Editing by Terry Wade)