April 1, 2016 / 2:37 PM / in 2 years

Citgo, Aruba government postpone deadline to restart idled refinery

ORANJESTAD, April 1 (Reuters) - Aruba and Venezuelan PDVSA’s refining unit Citgo Petroleum postponed a deadline to reach a final agreement to lease and restart an idled 235,000-barrel-per-day refinery, the government of the Caribbean island said late on Thursday.

The parties have, since 2015, been negotiating a 25-year lease that would allow Citgo to operate the refinery after investing in an overhaul.

The facility, which was operated by U.S. firm Valero Energy until 2012, was later classified as “abandoned.”

The deadline to reach a deal, originally set for March 31, was extended for six more weeks following talks between Aruba’s Energy ministry and Citgo executives in Houston, the government said.

Citgo also agreed to continue with a technical and financial analysis relating to the restart of the refinery’s operational units.

Citgo had planned to start a staff-hiring process in April, according to a source. It is not clear if a new schedule was agreed by the parties as part of the postponement deal. (Reporting by Sailu Urribarri; Writing by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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