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Questions about STX oil refinery....

 
Tony Straight
(@Tony_Straight)
Active Member

I believe it's called Hovensa? Anyhow, in my initial thoughts about making a permanent move to St. Croix my thoughts were that the oil refinery was a good thing since the U.S. needs all the oil products it can make. Then I find out that it is a joint venture between Amerada Hess and the Venezuelan government.

So here's my question and don't take it all the wrong way and flame me:

What happens if Hess throws in the towel and sells Venezuela their half of the refinery?

I know that years and years ago when the U.S. bought the islands from Denmark (I think it was) that it made sense from a strategic point of view. Now, with B-2 bombers and ICBM's and such to make war with, plus we have Puerto Rico right next door anyway, what happens if the U.S. decides to just cut STT, STX, and STJ loose?

It's not so far fetched. The Phillipines used to be part of U.S. territory.

Maybe I just need more things to worry about, but much is made about the relationship between the islands and the U. S. being the great reason to be there.

Any thoughts that don't involve telling me what a nut case I am?

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Topic starter Posted : January 9, 2006 11:40 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

If by, "cut STT, STX and STJ loose," you mean the US government wanted to sell the islands, I doubt Venezuela could afford to buy them.

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Posted : January 9, 2006 11:54 pm
Tony Straight
(@Tony_Straight)
Active Member

That's not really what I meant. The U.S. wouldn't have to "sell" anything. Just declare the islands independent and pull out.

As far as Venezuela not being able to afford something? Venezuela is one of the biggest oil producers in the world. And remember the dope? It's all cash and they are rolling in it.

Ever buy gas at a Citgo station? 100% owned by Venezuela's government. I didn't know that until I looked on www.Citgo.com and clicked on "About CITGO". I quote from the site:

"The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela."

It's an eye-opener.

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Topic starter Posted : January 10, 2006 12:31 am
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

I guess I don't understand your concerns. Even if you are correct and the islands no longer have a strategic military use for the US, why would the US give away an asset as valuable as the USVI?

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Posted : January 10, 2006 12:56 am
Tony Straight
(@Tony_Straight)
Active Member

Valuable? Take a look at it from national politicians point of view. What on earth does the VI produce or provide for the good of the United States? They gave away the Phillipines, which was supposed to be our stronghold in the far East.

I'm not bashing VI. Not in the least. I hope I can retire there in the next few years. But I am trying to be realistic.

My concerns are not really so much the U.S. dumping it, but Amerada Hess selling out to Venezuela. Just a business deal, but then we would have a huge oil refinery on St. Croix owned 100% by a South American dictator who makes no bones about hating the U.S.

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Topic starter Posted : January 10, 2006 1:08 am
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

People who hate the US own businesses in every state of the US, why should the USVI be any different? My home might someday be seized by eminent domain but I have a few more pressing matters to worry about...

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Posted : January 10, 2006 1:13 am
Alexandra Marshall
(@Alexandra_Marshall)
Advanced Member

It would take an act of congress and even then citizens could block any sale or release of the islands. The islands themselves could file a motion to block any such action. Do you not realize that everyone born on the islands is a USA citizen? The US Government can't step away from that easily. Your concerns are way off base. If one president or a few politicians of either party got together and tried to make such a thing happen (and there are politicians who spend lots of vacation time in the islands, so that is even less likely to happen), it would be blocked so long in the US Supreme Court that generations would go by and the idea would get scrapped. The USA may be wary of adding new territories to US status, but they don't have much of a chance to ever get rid of anywhere that already has such status. Do you really think the USA is ready to pay millions of dollars per acre for Eminent Domain to then have the right to turn over the USVI to another government? They could not dispossess USA citizens and write them off to another country to such a magnitude without going to that degree of action.

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Posted : January 10, 2006 4:31 am
smartbomb
(@smartbomb)
Advanced Member

Actually, the USVI would have to secede from the US, unless a govt. was willing to purchase them (unlikely). Anyone who wants a study in secession only need look at our neighbors to the north. There has been a push for Quebec to secede from Canada brewing since 1976 and even though they've come close they've never been able to pull it off.

I think the US is just fine having "territories", especially considering that every cruise ship in the South Atlantic/Carribean basin seems to make a stop in the USVI. These islands aren't going anywhere.

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Posted : January 10, 2006 10:07 am
Becky R
(@Becky_R)
Trusted Member

Tony -

For what it is worth - I don't think you're a troll, I think you're trying to get information or present a possible scenario and got blasted. The thought of the islands dropping off the U.S. radar crossed my mind as well prior to the move and we looked into it. The facts we got from our congressman in Arkansas are in the neighborhood of Alexandra's comments. Alexandra has some good, albeit strongly worded, arguments as to why that wouldn't happen.

Still and all, I think we need to consider the fact that we had a very active hurricane season, although nothing directly affecting the USVI....but after Katrina, do you think if we got hit like they did in 1989, the powers that be from the mainland would be all over us to help? Listen to the folks who were here during Hugo. Look at the folks on the mainland who couldn't get federal help when it was needed only a few months ago. Your congressmen and senators may vacation here, but I don't think they are going to lay awake at night worrying about the islands.

I'm consistently amazed at the number of people on the mainland who don't even KNOW about USVI, where it is, or that it is a part of the U.S. We've had people ask us what kind of currency we use (shells and beads) and ask us why we are giving up our citizenship, and where the U.S. Embassy is here...and these are some folks who should know better. You'd think we were fighting the Contras on our way to work every morning. People seem to know about STT, but many do not realize it's a U.S. territory. Virtually no one knows about STX...

My personal opinion? And I have no doubt I will get torn apart, there's been a lot of that going around lately - (ahemmmm) - the U.S. doesn't care to get involved in the matters of USVI. We were/are a strategic area in the Caribbean for them. Period. I think the better question is the possibility of terrorist attack on Hovensa with it's huge production rate....but that starts another thread altogether.

As for Hovensa and the Venezuelans - which WAS your original question - don't know, sorry - I just wanted to stick up for you on your post! BTW, I am completely apolitical, so don't anyone jump in my stuff over comments that are just personal feelings.

Why do I feel like I'll get flamed, LOL????

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Posted : January 10, 2006 11:06 am
STT Resident
(@STT_Resident)
Trusted Member

Tony, and for what it's worth, your posts may have been misinterpreted or misread by some but nonetheless I think you're way out there and are fussing inordinately about something which will never happen.

A small island faction has for many years tried to rally for independent status and the effort goes nowhere and for good reason although I'm disinclined to write an essay on it on this forum.

Yes, Tony, the United States purchased the Virgin Islands from Denmark in 1917 and you can easily do internet research to delve further into the particulars related to the purchase, Very interesting history, I might add, if you have the druthers. And knowledge of that history might also give you an idea of the current status of the islands.

The Philippines are a poor example to use in comparison and I think you'll understand why if you research the history of those islands.

But, as I said, I think you're way out there in worrying about something that isn't going to happen in your lifetime.

Becky: "Hugo" hit STX bigtime in 1989 and STT pretty nastily. Then "Marilyn" hit STT bigtime on September 15, 2005 and STX minimally. The Federal response to both hurricanes on both islands in both disasters was rather slow in coming but we realized that we were little tiny dots in the grand sphere and muddled through. The FEMA people were great but (I can tell great stories as I was here and suffered through both on STT!) the net result of their efforts left - how should I say this? - just a little bit of a bad taste.

Ergo I've nothing but real empathy for the victims of all the hurricanes which converged on Florida these last two years and for the ongoing Katrina debacle in the Gulf States.

So, Tony, I guess my point is for you stop worrying and fussing about Hovensa selling out to Venezuela and rather, based on what's going on right now, decide whether or not your retirement location dream would be good for you where the islands are concerned.

To revert to the bottom line, have you done a PMV? Cheers!

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Posted : January 10, 2006 2:40 pm
Tony Straight
(@Tony_Straight)
Active Member

No PMV yet, hopefully this summer, so I know I'm ahead of myself in trying to predict the future. Thanks for being a polite voice out there.

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Topic starter Posted : January 10, 2006 3:22 pm
Becky R
(@Becky_R)
Trusted Member

STT Res

I apologize if my post sounded less than empathetic toward any hurricane survivor...that was not the intent at all, rather to say that FEMA had trouble staying on top of the last few hurricanes on the mainland...if the VI had problems during that time, I'm sure we would have been at the bottom of the "go to" list...as you mentioned, we are tiny dots with only a tiny population compared to the Gulf coast.

It's difficult to get the intent of a note across electronically sometimes...and perhaps my wording wasn't perfect - but I DO honestly apologize if I sounded less than empathetic to anyone who has survived a national disaster. I was only 12 when Camille hit the Mississippi coast where we lived, but I do remember the total devastation and the sheer terror of that whole ordeal since my father was not inclined to leave the area and we mucked on through it the best way we could.

My whole post was to point out that people's concerns, whether we consider them valid or not, are their concerns...I still stick by a statement I made a few months ago. Most of us are just looking for answers, not trolling or trying to be argumentative. I'm a happy kind of girl - why argue????

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Posted : January 10, 2006 3:40 pm
STT Resident
(@STT_Resident)
Trusted Member

No problem whatsoever with either of you - really!

Tony - A PMV is really an absolute requirement, particularly for someone in your stage of life - and I say that with utmost honesty and in no way denigrating the nutty thoughts that you had about Hess!

Becky - absolutely no apologies are due. Hugo on STT was devastating but more so on STX. Marilyn trashed STT but not so much STX.

People come together after such disasters and help out each other to the best of their ability and that's what makes the world go around.

I'm certainly not alone in having lost a lot here via natural disasters. I know the angst of having, as it were, losing a life. The memorabilia is gone, or at best sodden and then ultimately irretrievable. Gives you a new perspective on life in general, that's for sure.

Well, enough philosophy and meanderings. Have to pick up outside dear kitty "Gilbert" from the vet where he went today to be neutered. OW!

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Posted : January 10, 2006 4:30 pm
Alexandra Marshall
(@Alexandra_Marshall)
Advanced Member

It is true that many people on the mainland are ignorant about the existence and status of the USVI and that the US Government finds it easy to ignore this small territory in the middle of the ocean.

I think the government treats the islands kind of like they're teenage children. i.e. you teach small children the basics of how to make decisions for themselves so by the time they are teenagers you step back and hope they really can make GOOD decisions for themselves. When they don't, you may provide a little guidance, but exerting your will on them is only going to make them try harder to go their own way.

The USVI is allowed to self-govern themselves in most areas. Like teenagers, they still expect the USA to pay many of their bills and give them an extra allowance anytime they overspend or want to buy new things.

Some teenagers think they should run away from home and that they'd be happier that way. Enter the disgruntled talk of secession. Some runaways get themselves into dangerous situations by buddying up to people they should avoid. To give the Venezuelans too much power over the economy and daily life of the USVI would definitely be a bad move to make.

Hovensa isn't "just" a large refinery... it is the producer of the vast majority of the Jet Fuel for the entire western hemisphere. That Jet Fuel powers not only commercial and private aviation, but also keeps the military aircraft flying. The US Government has a serious need to keep that under their sphere of influence and out of the hands of hostile foreign governments. It's not something that they are likely to just cut loose even if they could. Due to the strategic and military value of the refinery, it is likely that Hess would not be legally allowed to sell out the remainder of the refinery to Venezuela, just as American Defense contractors and missile production companies would not be allowed to be sold to and controlled by a terrorist organizations.

How easy do you think it would be for the US Government to sell Louisiana back to France? Or maybe allow Wisconsin to be annexed by Canada? Unless every US Citizen living there and/or owning property there was willing to allow such a change in government, it couldn't ever occur. US laws do offer some protection against having the land you live on pulled out from under you. Even in cases where Eminent Domain ultimately wins, entire states and territories are not taken away and there are often long, legal battles involved.

The USA purchased the USVI years ago when the legal system was not yet quite as convoluted as it is now. The islands also (from what I understand) had a different legal relationship with the country that sold them then they now do with the USA. It was also a period in history when the Caribbean was still being divvied up and islands were treated like pawns in a chess game by the countries that had previously explored and conquered so many parts of the world. The "go forth and explore and conquer and claim the land you find for your king and country" attitude ran out of steam once the world was mapped and divided. The changes in country boundaries and names and governance that have occurred in the past few decades have been the result of civil wars and secession efforts. The strategic value of Hovensa's refining output is so great to the US Government that secession could not be allowed to occur. STX might be allowed to break away from STT and STJ, but not from the USA. STT and STJ have less strategic use to the USA from a government and military standpoint.

Oh... and on another note.... wasn't Hurricane Marilyn in 1995, not 2005? It was Tropical Storm Jeanne that hit STX in September of 2004... and nothing hit us this past fall. The government might be slow to step in to help the islands after hurricanes... but they are at least as slow to help on the mainland as we all saw with dismay in 2005. Perhaps the agencies involved will be a bit more mindful of that debacle when the 2006 storm season arrives and respond more quickly where there is need. At least we can all hope!

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Posted : January 10, 2006 4:50 pm
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