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Rubio, Menendez Ask Trump Administration to Clarify Efforts to Prevent Potential Russian Takeover of U.S. Energy Infrastructure

Oct 31, 2017 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, today sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requesting clarification of the Trump Administration’s efforts to prevent Rosneft’s potential acquisition of Venezuela’s PdVSA and its American subsidiary Citgo.
Following media reports and inconclusive updates by Trump administration officials, the Senators’ letter seeks to confirm the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) has officially opened a full review into Citgo’s ownership. Earlier this year, Venezuela mortgaged a huge stake in its state-owned oil company PdVSA to Russia’s Rosneft.  The dire state of Venezuela’s economy under the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro provided the Kremlin a unique opportunity to possibly operate an extensive network of refineries and pipelines across the United States if Citgo’s parent company PdVSA defaults on billions in loans to Rosneft – a likely scenario according to respected international market analysts.
Citing the threats posed to our national security, economy and energy independence by the potential acquisition of critical U.S. energy infrastructure, the Senators wrote: “…we have yet to receive any official notification or guidance from either the Treasury Department or State Department on the ongoing review process. Given Venezuela’s increasingly dire economic and humanitarian situation, we are seriously concerned with a possible acquisition by Rosneft of PdVSA and Citgo. Can you please advise whether CFIUS is currently reviewing this situation?  And if not, why not?”
As Chair of CFIUS, the Secretary of Treasury is tasked with spearheading review processes of foreign investments in the U.S. for potential national security concerns. As the Senators previously requested, CFIUS should open an official inquiry over the dangers posed by the potential ownership of U.S. oil properties by a Russian state-owned firm.
Senator Menendez also held a press conference earlier this year to outline the threats posed to our national security, economy and energy independence by the potential acquisition of critical U.S. energy infrastructure—including a Trembley Point facility in Linden, N.J.—by majority Russian-government-owned Rosneft.
A copy of the letter to Secretary Mnuchin can be downloaded here and below.