Trying to convince Citgo to remain in Tulsa

Wednesday, August 13th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The rumors are reality. Citgo Petroleum Company is looking at moving from Tulsa to Houston.

Citgo has issued a statement saying the company's new global vision includes consolidating all of its international investments into "one" strategic location. Most of those investments, except for the one in Tulsa, are in Texas.

Citgo is a Venezuelan-owned company. Citgo officials prefer the fact they can fly directly from Houston to Venezuela. And of course, "many" oil companies have re-located to Houston. But local oil producer Dewey Bartlett says Tulsa still has advantages. “Tulsa’s positives are well-known. It's a great place for families, our standard of living is high, but the cost of that standard of living is low." Bartlett also mentions less crime, less traffic and less pollution.

Tulsa leaders have issued a statement. They say they're confident the competitive cost of doing business, and the dedicated, skilled workforce of Tulsa, will convince Citgo that Tulsa remains Citgo's best value.

City and state leaders say they will do everything in their power to convince Citgo to keep its headquarters in Tulsa. Those officials say there is a more competitive cost of doing business in Oklahoma. And Oklahoma's skilled workforce is an asset. They'll meet with the new management at Citgo on Monday.

First District Congressman John Sullivan, "It would be really devastating. Those are the high wage jobs. $50,000 to $60,000 and up jobs. That's what we desperately need now in our community. If someone is laid off, they can't find jobs like that and if we lose 800 to 1000 jobs like that, it would be a big blow to Tulsa."

Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune, "I think there is an interest in Houston, because of the number of energy companies there, but there are a number of energy companies located in Tulsa and Oklahoma City who have made that same analysis and stayed here for a lot of good reasons. We're going to bring these good reasons to Citgo."

Citgo is expected to make a decision on any possible move by the end of the year.