The owners of Hovensa have reached an agreement in principle to sell the St. Croix refinery to an as yet unnamed buyer, Government House announced.
In a statement released early Monday morning, Gov. John deJongh Jr. said he met Sunday with 11 members of the 30th Legislature to report the impending sale.
“After a sales process that included an outreach to more than 140 entities that had expressed a potential interest, which number included refiners, national oil companies, trading companies and private equity firms, I was able to report that an agreement in principle has been arrived at between Hovensa and a prospective buyer," the governor said. "Now we are to begin the process of negotiating an agreement between that entity and the government."
DeJongh said he met with the senators to review the overall process and issues that remain.
Citing the delicate and tentative nature of the negotiations, de Jongh said he could not identify the company, but he did acknowledge that additional time is required to determine whether the company’s proposed plans for the site are feasible.
“I am inclined to allow this process the fullest of opportunities to take shape, as my goal since Hovensa’s closing of the refinery has always been to see if we can find a party interested in and capable of restarting the refinery and putting our people back to work. This goal – job opportunities for Virgin Islanders – is a shared goal which was high on the list of concerns voiced at today’s meeting by the members of the Senate.”
The governor said he has named Attorney General Vincent Frazer to lead the team of government officials and advisors charged with exploring the feasibility of the prospective buyer’s proposal and, if feasible, negotiating an agreement to achieve the sale of the refinery and its operation under an agreement which assures the interests of the territory to the maximum degree achievable.