Top execs leave troubled refinery in U.S. Virgin Islands: letter

FILE PHOTO: Installations of the Limetree Bay petroleum refinery are seen in St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands June 28, 2017 when they were owned by Hovensa. REUTERS/Alvin Baez

(Reuters) - The finance chief and two other top executives at Limetree Bay Ventures, operator of a long-stalled Caribbean oil refinery, are stepping down, according to an internal letter reviewed by Reuters.

The 200,000-barrel-per-day refinery in St. Croix recently halted processing after a mishap, according to people familiar with the matter. It has run more than $1 billion over its original budget and well behind a plan to begin processing in late 2019.

Forgan McIntosh, chief financial officer, has resigned effective May 14, according to an April 1 letter to employees. The company is advertising the position on its career website.

Senior vice president of refining Bob Weldzius and vice president of human resources Jodi Mitchell, both of whom joined Limetree Bay in January 2019, will retire from the company this month, the letter said.

Neil Morgan, formerly senior vice president of downstream manufacturing at Canadian oil refiner Cenovus Energy Inc., will take over from Weldzius as refinery general manager, the letter said.

Limetree, owned by private equity firms EIG Global Energy Partners and ArcLight Capital Partners, did not respond to a request for comment.

The refinery has suffered a series of setbacks on its path to restarting operations after being idle for more than eight years. Last week, processing halted after an undisclosed operational issue, according to two people familiar with the matter. Efforts are underway to restart by next week, one of those people said.

It was unclear how much the plant was processing prior to the latest halt. It began processing fuel in February and was expected to run up to 200,000 barrels per day at its peak.

Shipping data shows that approximately 1,373,975 barrels of fuel - mainly high sulfur diesel, naphtha and jet fuel - were exported from the terminal in March, a rate that is about 44,300 barrels per day.

Reporting by Laura Sanicola; Editing by David Gregorio