The owners of the Hovensa refinery on St. Croix have asked for and received a second extension on the sales process and will hold a meeting with Gov. John deJongh Jr. later in the week to discuss the refinery, Government House announced Monday.
The sales process for the refinery that has been shuttered more than two years is regulated by the Fourth Amendment to the Operating Agreement, passed by the Legislature in November 2013. It was due to expire Aug. 15, but the refinery owners – Hovensa LLC, Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corp., and the Venezuelan group, PDVSA V.I. – asked for and received an extension to the end of August.
According to Monday’s statement, the owners asked for a second extension Friday.
DeJongh was also requested to attend a meeting later in the week relating to the sales process and has agreed to attend the meeting.
"DeJongh has agreed to a brief extension of the agreement currently in place and will make a further announcement with respect to the sales process at the end of the week," according to the statement.
The company closed the St. Croix refinery in 2012, throwing more than 2,000 employees out of work, sending hundreds of families off the island, and causing a disruption in the territory’s economy. The Fourth Amendment was passed Nov. 4 and signed by the governor Nov. 8 after a contentious series of hearings and one earlier vote in which it was soundly defeated.
DeJongh lobbied hard for the agreement, arguing that it was the best chance to get the territory beyond acrimonious finger-pointing and avoid protracted litigation with the company.
Hovensa retained the global independent advisory firm Lazard as its sole investment banker to sell the refinery, according to a statement from the former refinery. Since then there have been rumors, gaining strength in recent weeks, of an interested buyer willing to reopen the refinery. But no one in any position to actually know what is going on has spoken on the record, and the rumors have remained just that – rumors.