The controversy-plagued HOVENSA oil refinery, located in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands is going to be shut down. Less than a year has passed since the refinery was hit with a fine of over US$5 million for air pollution infractions. It was also required to implement $700 million worth of pollution control measures and to set up a $4.875 million environmental project fund to benefit the Virgin Islands environment.
According to the Caribbean Journal, HOVENSA’s parent company says that the shutdown is the result of a downturn in the global petroleum market:
The HOVENSA oil refinery in St Croix, US Virgin Islands, will be shut down, the company announced today.
The refinery, which is one of the 10 largest in the world and the largest in the Caribbean, is a joint venture between the Hess Corporation and Petroleos de Venezuela SA.
Hess cited weakness in demand for petroleum products due to the global economic slowdown and the addition of new refining capacity in emerging markets as factors leading to the shutdown.
It also said the low price of natural gas in the United States had place HOVENSA at a “competitive disadvantage.”
The company said it had explored other options to keep the refinery operating, but financial losses “left it with no other choice.”
The US government has previously found the refinery to be in violation of its federal Clean Air Act, saying in August that there had been “too many chemical releases and other potentially dangerous incidents at the HOVENSA facility in recent years, including three in January 2011 alone,” according to EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck.
It is not clear whether that played a role in the shutdown.
See the original article at the Caribbean Journal website.
Also of interest, previous Green Antilles posts about environmental problems at the HOVENSA refinery: U.S. EPA to begin air quality monitoring at HOVENSA refinery in St. Croix, After being fined, oil refinery in St. Croix will spend over US$700 million on anti-pollution upgrades, HOVENSA fined millions for pollution from St. Croix oil refinery, and Oil refinery accidents contaminate crucian domestic water supplies.