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37

Citgo Having Tough Time

Citgo Petroleum Corp. is off to its worst year in perhaps more than a decade as record oil prices cut into profits...

Citgo Petroleum Corp. is off to its worst year in perhaps more than a decade as record oil prices cut into profits for its primary business of refining and selling gasoline and other fuels, Chief Executive Alejandro Granado said Tuesday in Houston.

"This year, even though the price at the pump is almost $4, this has been the worst year at Citgo Petroleum at least for the last 10 years," Granado said during a speech at a company event to promote greater diversity among its vendors.

Citgo, the Houston-based arm of Venezuela's state-controlled oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, has struggled along with many other refiners as crude prices have doubled since last year and fuel prices have not kept pace.

First-quarter combined refining profits at 11 major U.S. energy companies declined 83 percent, to $800 million, from $4.8 billion in the first three months of 2007, according to a report by the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration.

The report cited higher crude oil and operating costs, refinery outages, reduced sales and other factors for the decline.