UPDATE: Gov. John de Jongh described the loss of the territory’s largest private employer as “a complete body blow” for the U.S. territory of about 108,000 people.
He said Hovensa generated a minimum of $60 million a year in revenue for the government, which recently laid of hundreds of public workers due to a budget crisis.
“Given what we’re going through right now, this is the last bit of news that I wanted to hear,” he said in a teleconference with reporters.
Hovensa announced early Wednesday morning that it will immediately commence shutdown of its refinery on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Following the shutdown, the complex will operate as an oil storage terminal.
“We deeply regret the closure of the Hovensa refinery and the impact on our dedicated people,” Hovensa President Brian Lever said in the statement. “We explored all available options to avoid this outcome, but severe financial losses left us with no other choice. We will provide significantly enhanced benefits for those union and salaried employees who are impacted and will work closely with the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands to ease the transition for the rest of the community.”
Holy crap! That will result in the layoffs of many Crucians to begin with. Also many villas are rented and paid for by Hovensa. All these families will be leaving island unless they can find work elsewhere, in this economy. You’re talking about killing the local economy of St. Croix potentially. Then it could impact the remainder of the USVI by losing millions upon millions in tax revenues by Hovensa. We’re already broke.
And what if anything will that do to the price of gas and our WAPA Leac charges? If we don’t get our fuel from Hovensa where will we get it from? Gas prices could go up dramatically? Which would mean LEAC could go up dramatically? And WAPA’s credit rating was just downgraded again which could mean higher costs for fuel and payment upfront?
Anyone know how this closing could or will impact us? If so please comment in.