|Industry||Oil and Gasoline|
|Founded||1910 Bartlesville, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|Headquarters||Houston, Texas, U.S.|
|Nelson P. Martinez, President/CEO|
|Revenue||US$ 32.028 billion (2004)|
|US$ 801 million (2008)|
Number of employees
Citgo Petroleum Corporation (or Citgo) is an American refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of Venezuela. The company has its headquarters in the Energy Corridor area of Houston, Texas.
Cities Service period
The company traces its heritage back to the early 1900s and an oil entrepreneur named Henry Latham Doherty. After quickly climbing the ladder of success in the manufactured gas and electric utility world, Doherty in 1910 created his own organization, Cities Service Company, to supply gas and electricity to small public utilities. He began by acquiring gas producing properties in the mid-continent and southwest.
The company then developed a pipeline system, tapping dozens of gas pools. To make this gas available to consumers, Doherty moved to acquire distributing companies and tied them into a common source of supply. Cities Service became the first company in the mid-continent to use the slack demand period of summer to refill depleted fields near its market areas. In this way, gas could be conveniently and inexpensively withdrawn during peak demand times. In 1931, Cities Service completed the nation's first long-distance high pressure natural gas transportation system, a 24-inch pipeline stretching some 1,000 miles from Amarillo, Texas, to Chicago, Illinois.
A logical step in the company's program for finding and developing supplies of natural gas was its entry into the oil business. This move was marked by major discoveries at Augusta, Kansas, in 1914, and in El Dorado a year later. In 1928, a Cities Service subsidiary, Empire Oil & Refining, discovered the Oklahoma City field, one of the world's largest. Another participated in the discovery of the East Texas field, which, in its time, was the most sensational on the globe.
Over three decades, the company sponsored the Cities Service Concerts on NBC radio. The long run of these musical broadcasts was heard on NBC from 1925 to 1956, encompassing a variety of vocalists and musicians. In 1944, it was retitled Highways in Melody, and later the series was known as The Cities Service Band of America. In 1964, the company moved its headquarters from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, to Tulsa.
At the height of Cities Service's growth, Congress passed the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, which forced the company to divest itself of either its utility operations or its oil and gas holdings. In a difficult decision, Cities Service elected to remain in the petroleum business. The first steps to liquidate investments in its public utilities were taken in 1943 and affected over 250 different utility corporations.
At the same time, the government was nearing completion of a major refinery at Rose Bluff just outside Lake Charles, Louisiana, that would become the foundation of the company's manufacturing operation. Using designs developed by Cities Service and the Kellogg Co., the plant was dedicated only 18 months after the first concrete was poured. A month before Allied troops landed in France, it was turning out enough critically needed 100-octane aviation gasoline to fuel 1,000 daily bomber sorties from England to Germany. Government funding through the Defense Plant Corporation (DPC) also prompted Cities Service to build plants to manufacture butadiene, used to make synthetic rubber, and toluene, a fuel octane booster and solvent.
In the years that followed, Cities Service grew into a fully diversified oil and gas company with operations around the world. Its green, expanding circle marketing logo became a familiar sight across much of the nation. During this time CEOs such as W. Alton Jones and Burl S. Watson ran the company and commanded nationwide attention among journalists wherever they traveled or whenever they spoke on matters pertaining to the petroleum industry.
Cities Service Company inaugurated use of the Citgo brand in 1965 (officially styled "CITGO") for its refining, marketing and retail petroleum businesses (which became known internally as the RMT Division, for Refining, Marketing and Transportation). CITGO continued to be only a trademark, and not a company name, until the 1983 sale of what had been the RMT Division of Cities Service to Southland Corporation.
1982–1983: Demise of Cities Service and birth of Citgo Petroleum Corporation
In 1982, T. Boone Pickens, founder of Mesa Petroleum, offered to buy Cities Service Company. Citgo responded by offering to buy Mesa, which was the first use of what became known as the "Pac-Man defense" take-over defense; i.e., a counter-tender offer initiated by a takeover target. Cities Service also threatened to dissolve itself by incremental sales rather than being taken over by Mesa, stating that it believed that the pieces would sell for more than Pickens was offering for the whole. Cities Service Company located what they thought would be a "white knight" to give them a better deal and entered into a merger agreement with Gulf Oil Corporation. Late in the summer of 1982, Gulf Oil terminated the merger agreement claiming that Cities Service's reserve estimates were over-stated. Over fifteen years of litigation resulted. (For a more detailed discussion of the Cities Service vs. Gulf Oil litigation, see Gulf Oil#Demise.) Ironically, two years later, Gulf Oil itself would collapse as a result of a Pickens-initiated takeover attempt.
In the chaos that ensued after Gulf Oil's termination of its deal, Cities Service eventually entered into a merger agreement with, and was acquired by, Occidental Petroleum Corporation—a deal that was closed in the fall of 1982. That same year, Cities Service Company transferred all of the assets of its Refining, Marketing and Transportation division (which comprised its refining and retail petroleum business) into the newly formed Citgo Petroleum Corporation subsidiary, to ease the divestiture of the division, which Occidental had no interest in retaining. Pursuant to an agreement entered into in 1982, Citgo and the Citgo and Cities Service brands were sold by Occidental in 1983 to Southland Corporation, original owners of the 7-Eleven chain of convenience stores.
Sale to Petróleos de Venezuela and later history
Fifty percent of Citgo was sold to Petróleos de Venezuela in 1986, which acquired the remainder in 1990, resulting in the current ownership structure.
During the 2000s, Citgo faced several legal actions over the operation of its Corpus Christi, Texas oil refinery. In 2007, it was convicted of a violation of the Clean Air Act for operating an oil-water separator without proper pollution-control equipment. It was found not guilty of a charge of emitting illegal levels of benzene into the environment. In 2009, a fire at the alkylation unit of the same plant resulted in the release of toxic hydrofluoric acid and the injury of two workers, one with severe burns. In February 2011, the company was fined over $300,000 for the incident.
In October 2010, Hugo Chavez announced the intention to have Petróleos de Venezuela sell its Citgo subsidiary calling it a "bad business" and citing low profits since 2006. The minimum sale price was set at 10 billion US dollars; however, Petróleos de Venezuela has been unable to find a buyer at that price. It was confirmed in January 2015 that CITGO would not be sold, but rather bonds were sold by CITGO to give a dividend to PDVSA. The Bonds sold included a $1.5bn five-year bond and a $1.3bn term loan to be fully repaid in three and a half years.
In September 2010, in connection with the centennial of its original owner, Cities Service Company, CITGO unveiled a new retail design. Within five years, CITGO plans for all locations to display the new street image.
Texaco sold some Citgo gas stations in the southeast when Chevron gained exclusive rights to the Texaco brand name in the U.S. on June, 2006. On September 27, 2006, the 7-Eleven chain of convenience stores announced its 20-year contract with Citgo was coming to an end and would not be renewed. 7-Eleven spokeswoman Margaret Chabris said "Regardless of politics, we sympathize with many Americans' concern over derogatory comments about our country and its leadership recently made by Venezuela's president. Certainly Chavez' position and statements over the past year or so didn't tempt us to stay with Citgo."
Citgo launched a national ad campaign in the fall of 2006 emphasizing the company's corporate social responsibility. National television ads featuring Joe Kennedy also aired through February 2007 featuring ordinary Americans thanking Citgo and Venezuela for providing discounted heating oil to low-income people.
- Lake Charles, Louisiana
- Corpus Christi, Texas
- Lemont, Illinois (due to boundary shift no longer in Lemont)
Citgo was a sponsor of the #21 Wood Brothers racing team in NASCAR for many years, with drivers such as Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Kyle Petty, Neil Bonnett, Morgan Shepherd and Dale Jarrett. They also sponsored the #99 Roush Racing team of Jeff Burton from late 2000 until pulling out of the sport in 2003.
The company sponsored the Citgo Pontiac-Riley of Venezuelan car driver Milka Duno in the Rolex Sports Car Series. Duno has three overall wins in the Rolex Series and finished second at the 2007 24 Hours of Daytona, becoming the highest-finishing female in the history of the famous race. Midway through the 2007 season, Citgo sponsored the #23 SAMAX Motorsport entry in the IndyCar Series for Duno. In 2008 and 2009 this sponsorship went with Duno to the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing #23 entry. She took the sponsorship to Dale Coyne Racing in 2010. Citgo is the major sponsor of Ernesto Viso of KV Racing (2012) and Andretti Autosport (2013).
Citgo is now a major sponsor of the Bassmaster Fishing Tour, and is also the sponsor of a charity golf tournament benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). The company's relationship with the MDA goes back to its 1983 purchase by Southland, an existing MDA sponsor. Citgo is currently MDA's biggest corporate sponsor, and its executives have appeared on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.
Consistent with its former sponsorship of the Boston Marathon, CITGO has for the past few years sponsored an elite level multisport team that competes in both adventure racing and triathlon events throughout the United States.
The Boston Citgo sign
Citgo refers to its logo as the "trimark". A large, double-faced sign featuring this logo overlooks Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts and has become a landmark, partly because of its appearance in the background in televised baseball games. The current sixty-foot-square sign, unveiled in March 2005 after a six-month restoration project, is illuminated by thousands of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). (Earlier versions of the sign were illuminated by neon lighting; the previous sign contained some 5,878 glass tubes with a total length of over five miles.) The sign sits atop the campus bookstore of Boston University.
The first sign featuring the Cities Service green-and-white trefoil logo was built in 1940, and was replaced with the trimark in 1965. In 1979 Governor Edward J. King ordered the sign turned off as an example of energy conservation. Four years later, Citgo attempted to disassemble the weather-beaten sign, and was surprised to be met with widespread public affection for the sign and protest at its threatened removal. The Boston Landmarks Commission ordered its disassembly postponed while the issue was debated. While never formally declared a landmark, it was refurbished and relit by Citgo in 1983 and has remained in operation ever since. Rising next to Boston's Fenway Park, the sign has been nicknamed "See It Go"—especially when a home run is hit during a Red Sox game.
The sign was highlighted in the short film Go, Go Citgo and the movie Field of Dreams. It was also featured in a 1983 Life magazine photograph feature, as well as a 1987 animated film as Kenmore Square's "neon god". The association with Fenway and the Boston Red Sox is so strong that some local Little League fields often are decorated with replicas of the Citgo sign, as is Hadlock Field in Portland, Maine, home of the Boston Red Sox' AA affiliate Portland Sea Dogs. Citgo installed a similar (albeit smaller) sign high on the glass wall above left field in Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros. In 2007, the Astros' AA affiliate, the Corpus Christi Hooks, installed a 50-foot replica of the Boston sign in their ballpark, Whataburger Field.
Before it was headquartered in Houston, Citgo had its headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 2003 Governor of Oklahoma Brad Henry met an executive of Citgo to discuss possible incentives that would keep the Citgo headquarters in Oklahoma. For eight months the company debated whether to move its headquarters or to keep its headquarters in Oklahoma. In 2004 the company announced that its headquarters were moving to Houston.
At that point the company had not decided which location in Houston would have the headquarters. The company wanted 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2) of office space to house 700 employees. Citgo considered the 1500 Louisiana building in Downtown Houston, the Williams Tower in Uptown Houston, the BMC Software headquarters complex in Westchase, and the Aspentech Building in the Energy Corridor. In June of that year the company signed a lease in the five-storey Aspentech building so it could serve as a headquarters. In September 2004 the company began moving its headquarters; on September 24 of that month 150 employees were in the Energy Corridor offices.
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- "Henry L. Doherty". Enciclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 2009-03-11.
- "Empire Oil and Refining" (PDF).
- Company History, by Citgo, accessed on 10 December 2007.
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- Citgo To Gush About Its Charitable Side, BrandWeek, Oct. 25, 2006
- Is Citgo Program for Poor, or for Chávez?, Washington Post, Feb. 24, 2007
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- "" BostonsPastime.com website|Retrieved on March 17, 2015.
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- Official website
- Petróleos de Venezuela (Spanish)
- Citgo 6
.25% of 2022
- Citgo Holdings 10
.75% of 2020
- Citgo 11
.5% of 2017
- Citgo Logos
- Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture - Cities Service Company
- Articles from CEOs of Citgo
- Icons Among Us: The CITGO Sign Article with slideshow
- Citizens for Environmental Justice Group concerned with environmental issues surrounding Citgo Corpus Christi refinery