In 1979, in response to the energy crisis of the 1970’s, Citizens Energy Corporation began entering into purchasing agreements with petroleum-producing nations and negotiating finance, shipping, and refining deals. The goal of these efforts was to sell off refined petroleum products and use the profits from those deals to dramatically reduce the cost of home heating oil for the poor and elderly.
Citizens Energy signed its first crude oil contract with Venezuela in November 1979. Joseph P. Kennedy II arranged storage deals with major terminal operators and contracted with hundreds of retail dealers to deliver the oil to needy Massachusetts families at 40 percent below market rates. By the end of its first 18 months of operations, Citizens Energy had acquired and delivered more than 13 million gallons of home heating oil from Venezuela to elderly and poor families in Massachusetts. In addition, Massachusetts itself purchased oil from Citizens Energy, using state and federal energy assistance funds, saving the state $4.1 million.
By the winter of 1981, Citizens Energy had signed oil purchase contracts with Venezuela, Ecuador, and Nigeria and was providing 18 million gallons of heating oil to serve an estimated 150,000 low-income people in Massachusetts.
During the 1980’s and 1990’s, Citizens Energy created two companies to manage its for-profit ventures in the oil industry. Citizens Resources Corporation was formed in 1983 to manage Citizens Energy’s oil-trading activities, with a particular emphasis on the development of stable, long-term sources of supply with oil-producing nations. A second company, Citizens Energy International, was formed in 1987 to handle Citizens’ oil exploration and production ventures. As part of a company re-organization in 1996, these two companies were sold.
Citizens Energy continues to work with major oil producing companies and countries to provide low-cost home heating oil to the poor and elderly. Last year, in partnership with CITGO, Citizens Energy, through its non-profit affiliate Citizens Programs Corporation, provided home heating oil to an estimated 200,000 low-income and elderly households. The Oil Heat Program also delivered nearly $20 million in heating assistance grants to Native American tribes and covered the winter heating needs of hundreds of homeless shelters.
Businesses that are interested in partnering with Citizens Energy on oil-related projects should reach us at 617-338-6300.