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Venezuela-CITGO 8 million gallons of Low-Cost Heating Oil Arrived to Maine

For Immediate Release
For Thursday, January 12, 2006
Contacts: Roraima Albornoz, Press Attach?
(202) 342-2214

Venezuela-CITGO?s Low-Cost Heating Oil
Arrived to Maine

8 million gallons of heating oil at a 40% discount converted into additional funds for Maine?s 48,000 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program recipients.

900,000 gallons of heating oil at a 40% discount to Native American tribes

120 thousand gallons donated to homeless shelters and other institutions


AUGUSTA -Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez?s pledge to ship low-cost heating oil to low income communities in the United States continues to be a reality. Today, Maine Governor John Baldacci accompanied by representatives from the state of Maine?s heating oil assistance program signed an agreement with CITGO Petroleum Corporation, a century-old U.S. petroleum company owned by the Venezuelan state oil company Petr?leos de Venezuela - PDVSA, to provide 8 million gallons of heating oil at a 40% discount to low-income residents in Maine. This humanitarian aid is also assisting four Native American tribes and homeless shelters in Maine.

At the home of the Lyons, a retired couple who have raised five children of their own and eight foster children, Maine Gov. John Baldacci signed the agreement with CITGO.

?It is imperative we act to ensure our citizens are safe and warm this winter. The cost of heating oil has risen dramatically and the federal government has failed to provide the resources needed to help Maine citizens. We are grateful to CITGO and the Venezuelan government for their generosity,? said Governor Baldacci.

Under the terms of the agreement LIHEAP recipients will receive an additional $100 in LIHEAP benefits. These additional funds have been donated by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for distribution through LIHEAP. The amount of the donation will be equal to a 40 % discount on the spot market price of 8 million gallons of heating oil. Maine estimates that CITGO?s donation will be approximately 5.5 million dollars.

In addition, the government of Venezuela has agreed to provide 120,000 gallons of heating oil to homeless shelter in Maine. This oil will be delivered to more than 40 homeless shelters by their heating oil suppliers. Moreover, 900,000 gallons of heating oil at a 40% discount to four Native American tribes.

?Some have tried to read politics into these outreach programs?, said Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez. ?This program has a human face. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a promise in New York City following hurricanes Katrina and Rita and this Maine heating oil program represents the goodwill between the people of Venezuela and the United States. Help for those who need it most is a cornerstone of the new Venezuelan economy under President Chavez, and this program, following similar ones in Massachusetts and the Bronx, is part of a new effort to increase regional integration. ?

?CITGO is pleased to be part of another assistance program for those in need,? said Felix Rodriguez, CITGO?s CEO. ?CITGO has over 160 gas stations in Maine, and we are proud to be responsible corporate citizens in the communities in which we operate, especially when the need is great. This is not about politics, this is not about oil. This is about life, about improving the lives of poor people. This is about people helping people.?

The Government of Venezuela announced a statewide heating oil assistance program in Massachusetts on Nov. 22, and a similar program in The Bronx borough of New York on Dec. 6, 2005. Discussions for further expansion of the program are underway in several other states, including Delaware, Vermont, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

?Thanks to Venezuela for making this help available to us,? said Maine Resident Mary Lyons.

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