St. Croix looking to P.R. for gas; St. Thomas in good shape
Published: August 26, 2013
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ST. CROIX - The V.I. Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs has determined that the three fuel haulers on St. Croix have contacted potential Puerto Rico-based suppliers as they work to deal with the impending loss of the truck loading station at HOVENSA.
"The St. Croix retailers may have to depend on these three companies for fuel supply once the fuel supply at the HOVENSA truck rack ceases to exist," Gov. John deJongh Jr. said in a statement Government House released.
According to HOVENSA, its current inventory of regular gasoline will keep the fuel racks supplied until Oct. 31 for regular gasoline and until Dec. 31 for premium gasoline, ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and jet fuel. The company has said it will no longer supply the racks after its current fuel inventory runs dry.
The Government House statement, released late last week, addressed what DLCA is doing and also the governor's response to the concerns expressed last week by an official with Bohlke International Airways, who said that HOVENSA's planned shutdown of the loading station could jeopardize St. Croix's air traffic.
The DLCA has determined that none of the St. Croix service stations has invested in any additional storage facilities, according to Government House.
DLCA also had discussions with an entity that was willing to renovate the storage tanks at Renaissance on St. Croix - but that entity, too, wanted to wait and see whether fuel would continue to be available at HOVENSA.
A recent survey has indicated that the haulers still have not formalized agreements with alternative suppliers, but all have identified where they will get supply if necessary, according to Government House.
On St. Thomas, the service stations appear to be in relatively good shape, with retailers having struck arrangements with wholesalers who are presently receiving their fuel supply from alternative sources, according to Government House.
DLCA intends to continue meeting with the fuel retailers, wholesalers and haulers as necessary, according to the release.
As for jet fuel, deJongh issued a statement that he shares the concerns the aviation industry on St. Croix has expressed about the lack of available storage for jet fuel, which some in the industry say will jeopardize air traffic to the island.
"Elected leaders including myself and members of the 30th Legislature have received correspondence by fixed-base operators on St. Croix that the island simply does not have the storage capacity for jet and aviation fuel outside of the HOVENSA facilities," deJongh said.
The release said the concerns of the business owners are "very real" and that these business operators would be caught in the middle.
St. Croix has virtually no storage facilities for jet fuel.
V.I. Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty also issued a statement about the anticipated impact on the department's continued effort at further developing airlift to St. Croix.
"The availability and affordability of fuel is critical to continued airlift development," she said in the release. "Our efforts would be negatively affected if either was compromised."