HOVENSA to be sold
Published: February 20, 2013
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ST. THOMAS - In a Government House press release issued late Tuesday night, Gov. John deJongh Jr. said that the owners of HOVENSA have agreed they will sell the St. Croix refinery, and the V.I. government has agreed to extend the deadline for the interim agreement between the two parties.
"The owners of HOVENSA have come to the point where they have now agreed to a sales process," deJongh said in the prepared statement. "This is something we have pushed for from the beginning. As such, I have agreed to a further extension of the current interim agreement as requested by the refinery's owners."
No other details about the duration of the extension or the sales process were available at press time.
DeJongh also said he has received assurances that there will be no interruption of the fuel supply on St. Croix and that both sides will work to complete, without delay, negotiations towards an agreement for review and consideration by the 30th Legislature.
DeJongh met Tuesday night at Government House with members of the 30th Legislature, Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen and Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis to update them about the status of negotiations with HOVENSA.
Government House spokesman Jean Greaux Jr. and Senate President Shawn-Michael Malone did not return calls to The Daily News by press time, and Christensen was unavailable for comment.
The current interim agreement was set to expire at the end of February.
"An extension is required in order to finalize the details of the sales process, its timing and what possible adjustments to HOVENSA's current obligations seem reasonable while this process is going forward," deJongh said in the prepared statement.
The Government House statement said that "the form, or extent, of the details of any sales process are yet to be finalized."
In the joint statement, Malone said he would support the extension of the concession agreement to facilitate the negotiation process.
"In order to protect the interests of the people of this territory it is critical that we maintain a unified front on this issue," Malone said. "Additionally, I have requested that the governor ensure we have adequate time to fully analyze any agreement that we are asked to ratify."
Since August 2012, the governor has called on the owners of HOVENSA to either reopen the refinery or join with the government in establishing a sales process that will lead to a new owner resuming refinery operations.
Lawmakers who attended Tuesday's meeting at Government House were Senators Malone, Janette Millin Young, Donald Cole, Clifford Graham, Nereida Rivera-O'Reilly, Terrence Nelson, Craig Barshinger, Clarence Payne, Myron Jackson, Diane Capehart, Tregenza Roach and Kenneth Gittens. Christensen and Senators Sammuel Sanes and Alicia Hansen participated via teleconference.
Members of the governor's Cabinet, as well as David Herr, managing director of Duff & Phelps, consultants to the government on HOVENSA; and attorney Peter Heibert, legal counsel to the governor in Washington, D.C., also attended the meeting.