| NEW YORK, April 1
NEW YORK, April 1 The U.S. Virgin Islands and
the owners of the St. Croix refinery have agreed "in principle"
to a sale process for the shuttered plant, the governor of the
U.S. territory said on his website.
The interim agreement between Governor John De Jongh Jr. and
HOVENSA, the joint venture between Hess Corp and
Venezuela's PDVSA, could pave the way for a revival
of the refinery if a buyer for the troubled plant can be found.
De Jongh has been pushing HOVENSA to reopen the refinery or
sell it since last August, in the hope of restoring jobs on the
islands. An update on the talks was posted on the governor's
website over the weekend.
"The finalized agreement will set forth the process for the
sale of the refinery on St Croix," the post on the governor's
website said. "When signed by all parties, the agreement will be
presented to the Legislature for its consideration and
Once one of the largest refineries in the Americas, HOVENSA
turned the plant into a storage terminal last year after
attempts to boost profitability failed.
Powered by oil rather than cheap natural gas like most U.S.
plants, HOVENSA had lost $1.3 billion in recent years despite
efforts to trim capacity and improve efficiency, including
cutting output to 350,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) from 500,000
A spokesperson for HOVENSA declined to comment on the
The finalized agreement for the sale process is expected to
be presented to the government within the next ten days,
according to a spokesman for the governor.
A new owner could decide to revive the plant's refinery
operations but would have to re-negotiate air and water permits
and other contractual terms, the spokesman said.
HOVENSA owns and operates the St. Croix refinery under a
1998 concession agreement with the Virgin Islands government
that runs through the end of 2022.
The refinery's oil storage operations will continue
thoroughout the sales process, the governor's spokesman said.