Venezuela to Provide Low-Cost Heating Oil to Needy Bronx Residents

The Bronx will become the third area in the United States to accept Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s offer of reduced-cost home-heating fuel from Citgo, the Venezuelan-state-owned oil company, to low-income residents.

2005.11.22

Bronx Representative Jose Serrano (D) announced yesterday that he had brokered a deal with the Venezuelan-owned oil company Citgo to give low-income residents in his district access to reduced-cost home-heating fuel. The Bronx will become the third area in the United States to accept the plan Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez first proposed over the summer.

Details of the deal will be made public at a signing ceremony next week, according to a statement released by Serrano’s office. The announcement comes a week after a Massachusetts congressman reached a similar deal with Citgo and months after Chavez first announced that he was willing to use some of the oil company’s stores to subsidize expected high heating costs for US residents this winter. Citgo is owned outright by the nation of Venezuela.

After a press conference with Chavez and Jesse Jackson this summer, Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela’s minister of energy and mines, outlined plans for Citgo to set aside as much as 10 percent of its reserves to sell directly to poor communities in the US, eliminating intermediaries and thereby lowering the costs, according to VenezuelaAnalysis.com, a web-based outlet for news from the country. Ramirez estimated that costs would be about 30 percent less than they currently are on the US market.

In an interview with CNN this summer, Venezuela General Counsel Martin Sanchez said Citgo was implementing the plan first in Chicago, at a refinery in the city, and would distribute the supplies in poor Latin American communities. That plan was aimed predominantly at lowering diesel prices.

Last week, Massachusetts Representative William Delahunt (D) reached an agreement with Citgo to provide 12 million gallons of cheaper heating oil, Knight Ridder reported. The deal is supposed to provide about 45,000 poor Southeastern Massachusetts families with heat this winter, the news service said.

According to comments by Ramirez reported in Venezuela Analysis last week, the full savings should amount to about $10 million. Sales in Boston may begin later this week and the program is planned to start next week in the Bronx.

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Author: Brendan Coyne

News Service: The NewStandard

URL: http://newstandardnews.net/content/?action=show_item&itemid=2624&x=x