CITGO Petroleum Corp. is celebrating its 100-year heritage today, Sept. 2.
The brand dates back to the Cities Service Co. and continues today as a U.S. petroleum refining and marketing company. With the backing of its shareholder, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, CITGO is the third largest independent refiner, sixth largest branded gasoline supplier, recipient of numerous safety awards and recognitions and is committed to giving back to local communities.
The people of CITGO are marking the historic anniversary with special events in Houston; Corpus Christi, Texas; Lake Charles, La.; Lemont, Ill; and Orlando.
“When a company successfully navigates through 100 years of history and all the associated changes, it is something truly exciting and deserving of great recognition,” said CITGO President and CEO Alejandro Granado. “Our company is built on a strong foundation of solid business operations, the best possible service to our customers and support for the communities we serve. Through every major milestone of our history, from the introduction of the CITGO brand in 1965 to the launch of our heating oil and Fueling Good programs in the late 2000s, CITGO employees and local Marketers and Retailers have stood by us and helped us succeed.”
The Cities Service Co. was established on Sept. 2, 1910, in Bartlesville, Okla., and played an integral role in the development of the petroleum industry in the U.S. Founder Henry Doherty was a pioneer in oil exploration and refining and was one of the first to provide gas and electricity to the masses. He was also a philanthropist by nature, supporting research in infantile paralysis and acting as a good steward of the environment. This focus laid the groundwork for the values CITGO lives today.
Through the 1920s and 1930s, Cities Service led the way in the post-war economic boom and was an integral part of the post-depression recovery and infrastructure development. The company built its flagship Lake Charles, La. refinery in 1942 to support the war effort by providing aviation fuel. Today the refinery is among the largest in the United States, with a capacity of 425,000 barrels-per-day.
At the forefront of the consumer era in the 1950s and 1960s, Cities Service introduced many innovative branding and consumer initiatives, the greatest of which was the CITGO brand. Armed with a more contemporary brand, Cities Service introduced in the 1970s a self-service gas station concept that was paired with a convenience shopping experience. This successful consumer combination later became the CITGO Quik Mart.
In 1985, CITGO underwent an intensive business review that defined the new strategy for the company, all of which are evident in today’s CITGO: focusing on the independent marketer class of trade, building the brand through exemplary customer service and brand programs and securing a long term crude oil agreement. Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), purchased CITGO in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and continues to supply heavy crude oil for the CITGO refineries. Today, CITGO supports more than 500 light oils Marketers with more than 6,500 locally owned CITGO branded locations in 27 states and the District of Columbia. Around 300 Lubricants Marketers supply approximately 200 CITGO Fast Lube locations across the U.S.
In alignment with the social development principles of its shareholder, PDVSA, CITGO has, in recent years, deepened its commitment to local communities through a variety of social programs and other initiatives. The company’s flagship heating oil program, now in its fifth year, warms thousands of American families each winter. Together with local Marketers and Retailers, CITGO has raised more than $100 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and is recognized as the charity’s largest corporate sponsor. The company’s newest initiative, Fueling Good, is an effort to recognize and reward local heroes across the country. On top of this, the network of three CITGO owned refineries, three lubes packaging plants, more than 40 terminals, nearly 200 CITGO Fast Lubes and nearly 6,500 locally owned retail sites provides more than 60,000 jobs and supports economies in local communities.