Citgo Petroleum reports $477 MM third quarter profit

 (Reuters) - Oil refiner Citgo Petroleum reported third quarter earnings of $477 MM on strong margins and higher throughput at its three U.S. oil processing plants.

Results for the Venezuelan-owned company and other U.S. refiners have touch records this year as prices for motor fuels climbed sharply on the U.S. economic recovery and on global shortages caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. That demand is expected to keep profits flowing.

Citgo posted a pre-tax profit of $804 MM for the quarter ended Sept. 30, down from the record $1.86 billion in the second quarter this year. Pre-tax profits for the first nine months this year were $3.18 B.

The latest period reflected strong diesel demand at the seventh-largely U.S. refinery operator. However, overall profit margins and earnings fell from the prior quarter as processing rates slipped to 89% from the second quarter's 101%, said Chief Executive Carlos Jorda in a statement.

Its three refineries processed 780,000 barrels bpd last quarter, and exported 196,000 bpd of refined products, up about 45% from a year ago.

The profits allowed Citgo last quarter to pay $483 MM in dividends to parent Citgo Holding to repay a term loan, Companies that hold debt in Citgo's parent companies are looking to seize its shares to recover debts.

A Delaware District court judge last month approved a sales process to auction shares in PDV Holding, the indirect sole stockholder of Citgo. If held, the auction would pay Canadian miner Crystallex $970 MM owed from an expropriation judgment on its Venezuelan assets.

Citgo is the crown jewel of Venezuela's overseas assets, and has split from its Caracas-based ultimate parent, Venezuelan state-run oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela. But companies with unpaid debts from Venezuela have sought to have their judgments recognized by the same Delaware court.

(Reporting by Gary McWilliams; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Josie Kao)

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