Above: the HOVENSA refinery
By the Caribbean Journal staff
The government of the United States Virgin Islands and HOVENSA have agreed to extend an interim agreement to make fuel available as the two sides negotiate on the future of what was the Caribbean’s largest oil refinery.
The agreement makes fuel available to the community through HOVENSA’s truck-loading rack. It has been extended until not later than Feb. 28, 2013.
The agreement also allows HOVENSA to operate an oil storage facility on the site, according to the terms of an earlier interim agreement from last March.
“The owners of HOVENSA want an arrangement that allows them to operate an oil storage facility, while I continue to believe that a refining operation is the best possible outcome in terms of employment and revenues for the territory,” USVI Governor John de Jongh said in a statement.. “I am hopeful that we will continue to make progress on reconciling our respective positions.”
In January of this year, parent company Hess announced that the refinery, the largest single employer in the USVI — and the territory’s primary supplier of fuel — would close. It cited a weakness in demand for petroleum products due to the downturn.
According to a HOVENSA statement, the company is “continuing to work to achieve an amicable resolution that best serves the interests of both the company and the Virgin Islands.”