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    CITGO-Venezuela Home Heating Program Relaunched

    The program began its fifth consecutive season in early January.

    NEW YORK -- The CITGO-Venezuela Heating Oil Program officially began its fifth consecutive season with a celebratory ceremony at the historic Riverside Church here, attended by the president and CEO of CITGO Petroleum Corp., Alejandro Granado; the chairman of Citizens Programs Corporation, Joseph P. Kennedy II; and the ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United States, Bernardo Álvarez.

    The social responsibility imitative helped more than 200,000 households last winter, according to the company.

    "CITGO is very proud to mark the fifth anniversary of our Heating Oil Program, our flagship social development initiative, which is in alignment with the solidarity principles endorsed by the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela through its national oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A (PDVSA)," Granado said in a statement. "Our program helps thousands of households, tribal communities and shelters in the U.S. each year and is without doubt one of the most important social development initiatives implemented by any large energy corporation in history."

    Approximately 50,000 families and 39 shelters received assistance from the program in New York City last year alone, and the need for heating assistance is expected to increase significantly this year, he added.

    In carrying out the program, CITGO partnered with Citizens Programs Corp., a non-profit organization created by Joseph P. Kennedy II.

    "Every year, we hear from families who struggle each and every day to put food on the table and heat their homes," Kennedy said in a statement. "The economic downturn has made the situation even worse. … We are deeply grateful to CITGO Petroleum and the people of Venezuela for their generosity to Americans in need." He added: "We ask major oil companies and oil-producing nations every year to help our senior citizens and the poor make it through winter, and only one company, CITGO Petroleum, and one country, Venezuela, has responded to our appeals."

    The CITGO-Venezuela Heating Oil Program originated in the aftermath of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, as a response to the need of thousands of low-income people in the United States affected by the high price of heating oil in 2005. An open letter from 12 U.S. Senators, including Senators John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid, was written Oct. 27, 2005, requesting oil companies to help low-income families affected by the high prices of heating oil, according to CITGO.

    CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products, and is owned by PDV America Inc., an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A.

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