Citgo close to deciding if it will stay in Tulsa or move to Houston

Monday, February 2nd 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

We know who won the Super Bowl, but who will win Citgo? There was a contest off the field in Houston as well, as Tulsans and Texans both treated Citgo executives to Super Bowl tickets.

Citgo is close to deciding whether to move its corporate headquarters from Tulsa to Houston, with nearly a thousand good jobs at stake. News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg has an update.

The Citgo decision might be close. Close enough that Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune cancelled a trip to a homeland security seminar in Maryland. "For any job issues that are out there floating around right now, many are well-publicized, some not, I just need to be present and proactive."

The mayor says he has not yet gotten any feedback from Francis Rooney, the owner of Manhattan Construction, who treated Citgo Vice-President Antoino Rivero with a ticket to the big game, and whose company actually built Reliant Stadium.

The Texas Governor, meanwhile gave Citgo CEO Luis Marin his ticket to the Super Bowl. But that's apparently not all Texas is offering. The News on 6 obtained a memo that Rivero sent to his employees Monday morning, in which he says he received the initial draft of the incentives from the state of Texas.

He says Citgo's task force will reconvene to study them and thanks the employees for their patience. And says "Hopefully they have reached a point where they can get a board decision soon."

Mayor LaFortune did not offer any details about what incentives Tulsa or Oklahoma might have. But he says in his meeting with Citgo officials last week, he let them know that in his words the door is open. "The discussion was positive, we are interested in working with them on what they might need to stay here in Tulsa and what we might be able to do, but I don't want to comment on any more specifics beyond that."

In a Houston newspaper story, Rivero said Citgo has looked at several downtown Houston office towers, including the former Enron building, which he says garnered some very positive comments.