SAN NICOLAS, Aruba, Oct. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Authorities from the governments of Aruba and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and officials from Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), CITGO Petroleum Corporation and CITGO Aruba, gathered at the main gate of the island's refinery today for a kick-off ceremony marking the start of the CITGO Aruba activities that will reactivate operations at the 209,000 B/D refinery which has been idled since 2012.

In attendance at the event were the Aruban Minister of Economy, Communication, Energy and Environment, Mike de Meza; the Vice-President of Refining, Commerce and Supply of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), Jesus Luongo; and the President and CEO of CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Nelson P. Martínez.

As of today, the plant, now owned by the Aruban government, will be operated by CITGO Aruba. Today's ceremony included the unveiling of the facility's new logo.

"Today's inauguration is the culmination of extensive work by dedicated professionals from CITGO, PDVSA, and the Aruban government," said CITGO President and CEO, Nelson P. Martínez. "The team was guided by principles of solidarity and complementarity, to create a dynamic project that would provide improved socio-economic value for all parties involved."

The refinery will undergo a refurbishing process and it is expected to be fully operational in the next 18 months to two years. Once the refurbishing process has concluded, the facility will process extra-heavy crude from the Orinoco Oil Belt, transforming it into intermediate crude, which in turn will be sent on to the CITGO refining network in the United States for further processing. At the same time, naphtha will be sold to PDVSA for use as diluent for its extra-heavy crude.

"Beyond the benefits that this project will provide for CITGO and PDVSA, we believe that re-opening this facility will positively impact the island of Aruba, as a catalyst for economic development and will further strengthen the region," said Martínez.

In addition to the impact of salaries and wages from local employment, Martínez explained that this project will generate increased procurement for services and materials from local providers as well as increased tourism.

"By following the principles of corporate social responsibility together we can create meaningful opportunities for regional business, governments and nonprofit entities, and most importantly, for our communities," he concluded.

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by CITGO Holding, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information visit