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Charlotte Amalie
Sunday, June 16, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesMost Hovensa Workers End Tenure Friday

Most Hovensa Workers End Tenure Friday

Roughly 1,000 Hovensa employees said farewell Friday to former co-workers as they were released from employment at the Hovensa refinery, according to the company.

On Feb. 21, Hovensa completed the shutdown of oil processing and associated auxiliary units. The processing units have since been cleaned and isolated in accordance with applicable environmental regulations and the company’s safety procedures, Hovensa spokesman David Roznowski said in a statement from the company.

“I’m extremely grateful for the manner in which employees and contractors have shut down the refinery,” said Brian Lever, president and chief operating officer of Hovensa, in the company statement. “The professionalism demonstrated by our teammates speaks volumes. Employees met the goal in our Aim-4-Zero campaign and completed their tenure with no injuries in 2012, which is no small task considering the complexity of the work involved to shut down a refinery of our size," Lever said.

Lever noted employees received enhanced severance benefits, in excess of what is required by the V.I. Plant Closing Act and existing company policy. And Hovensa provided employees with career counseling and outplacement assistance, including seminars on financial planning, writing resumes and interviewing for jobs, Lever said. Also, the company hosted a career fair that brought 110 recruiters to St. Croix from 25 potential mainland employers in addition to recruiters from local employers, he said.

“We had more than 700 employees attend the three-day career fair. They submitted roughly 2,359 resumes to recruiters and, consequently have had roughly 600 interviews to date. Many employees have already received job offers; I’m optimistic that a large number of our former employees will be quickly hired,” said Lever. “Today we focused on saying a respectful goodbye to those employees who were released and tomorrow we will turn our focus to the work remaining to be done to make our oil storage terminal operation a reality.”

Last month, Hovensa entered into an interim agreement with the government of the Virgin Islands to continue to supply fuel to WAPA at a discounted rate until the end of this year. The interim agreement also provides for the company to continue to supply fuels to local customers at the Hovensa truck rack.

“We are still in negotiations with the V.I. government,” said Lever. “We need changes made to our concession agreement to make the operation of a stand-alone oil storage financially viable, changes that will be mutually beneficial to both Hovensa and the territory to operate the complex beyond 2012.”

Lever stressed Hovensa’s commitment to the territory and its intent to remain a socially responsible entity and community partner.

On Jan. 18, Hovensa announced it would end oil processing activities at the refinery and continue to operate the complex an oil storage terminal. Losses at the refinery totaled $1.3 billion over the past three years and were projected to continue. The losses were caused primarily by weakness in demand for refined petroleum products due to the global economic slowdown and the addition of new refining capacity in emerging markets.

In the past three years, these factors have caused the closure of roughly 18 refineries in the United States and Europe with capacity totaling more than 2 million barrels of oil per day. In addition, the low price of natural gas in the U.S. put Hovensa, an oil-fueled refinery, at a competitive disadvantage.

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