Last week, the Treasury Department extended the license protecting the refinery until January.
In the United States, it seems that Citgo, the key to Venezuela’s economic recovery, will change ownership next year.
Leonard Stark, a US federal court official overseeing the auction of shares of refiner Citgo to pay creditors linked to Venezuela, said he would not be looking for a “horse hero” to set a minimum price of shares.
The term “stalking horse bid” refers to an initial offer of the assets of a distressed or bankrupt company.
According to the Reuters agency, the auction will be the largest held by the court, and the date of the last hearing of the sale is set for July 15.
Robert Pincus, the special judge overseeing the auction process, wrote in the filing that potential bidders will contact the court or may request to be included in the sale process.
The auction has two rounds of bidding, the first of which is non-binding and will be held on January 22.
Several creditors have gone to US courts to claim $23 billion, nearly double the estimated value of Citgo Petroleum, which operates a network of oil refineries capable of processing 807,000 barrels of oil per day in the United States.
To implement the sale process, the investment bank Evercore Group was hired, which received approval from the United States Department of the Treasury.
For four years, the Treasury Department protected Citgo, the foreign jewel in the Venezuelan crown, from seizure by creditors owed billions of dollars in claims against Venezuela.
Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro, criticized the auction and said the refining company had been “kidnapped” by the United States.
However, last week, the Treasury Department extended the license protecting the refinery until January to encourage payment negotiations between the boards that govern Citgo and some creditors, which could limit the scope of the auction.