Chavez's heating oil for US needy ends | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Chavez's heating oil for US needy ends

Venezuela’s Chavez Scraps U.S. Heating Oil Program (Update2)
By Steven Bodzin

Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, under pressure to maintain domestic social programs as his country’s oil income falls, ended a three-year-old program that provided heating oil to low-income households in the U.S.

Citgo Petroleum, the U.S. refining unit of state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, is suspending deliveries of the oil “until further notice,” Joseph P. Kennedy II, president of Citizens Energy Corp., said today on his company’s Web site. Boston-based Citizens Energy handled logistics for Citgo’s program and will keep providing below-market-rate oil to some customers, he said.

Chavez on Dec. 31 reduced foreign currency allotments as the first step to address the effects of the decline in Venezuela’s oil price, which plunged 75 percent since reaching a record in July. Caracas, Venezuela-based Petroleos de Venezuela, the biggest oil exporter in the Americas, is reviewing “everything” to save money, Rafael Ramirez, the company’s president, told reporters Oct. 30 in Caracas.

"Chavez promised not to cut social programs, which receive about half their funds from oil revenue."