WHAT SHALL WE DO WI...
 

WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH HOVENSA?  

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DaChief
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August 7, 2012 12:56 am  

Well, there you have it; open and unrestricted corporate warfare. I guess it was eventually inevitable, after all- there was probably tom-foolery on both sides of that table....

Here's Our Options as I see them:

1) Do business with them
2) Force them to Sell the Refinery or Clean It Up
3) Investigate their Executives and Higher Management
4) Force them to Abate, Mitigate and Restore as per Federal Law
5) Charge them BIG for EVERY natural resource they consumed or spoiled (ground water, ocean,mangroves, you name it)
6) Tax them on the value of their equipment

Comments?

(By the way, I vote for 6, 3, 4, 5, in that order)


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TamiP
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August 7, 2012 1:31 am  

I agree 100% and more if I could. There has to be responsibility somewhere I like all the list but especially 5, 4, and 6 first.


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STXjill
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August 7, 2012 2:42 am  

My view of the Southshore has been a bit of an eyesore with the refinery there during my past 10 years living on Constitution Hill, but I was ok with that when it was a vital part or our economy. That vitality has diminished, it's now just a big eyesore.


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OldTart
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August 7, 2012 11:05 am  

Well, there you have it; open and unrestricted corporate warfare.

What have I missed?


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JE
 JE
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August 7, 2012 12:03 pm  

Here is a link to a press release on the subject.

http://governordejongh.com/blog/2012/08/governor-dejongh-addresses-territory-about-hovensa-future.html


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stxfoodie
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August 7, 2012 12:37 pm  

And the fun begins! Let the lawyers make some more $$$$.

Seriously though, would someone provide a link to the Duff and Phelps comprehensive analysis that the Govenor referenced in his speech? I for one would like to read it.


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sttanon
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August 7, 2012 1:45 pm  

Seriously though, would someone provide a link to the Duff and Phelps comprehensive analysis that the Govenor referenced in his speech? I for one would like to read it.

I don't think the results of the analysis have been made public yet (or if they will, senate audit report anyone ?) ......

I am a little leary of this speech by the gov with regards to this.... When the closing was first announced there was a quote by deJongh that stated that the refinery represented a piece of Virgin Islands real estate that is too valuable to just sit idle. I do agree with that statement but at the same time how can he expect Hovensa to suffer $1.3 billion in losses and then continue operations at a loss. I am a bit baffled why Hovensa did not look when times were better at trying to modernize parts of the plant to make it more efficient and also to not be so dependent on the burning of more expensive products to power the facility. Even better equipped facilities in the states have been forced to close as a result of the global economic downturn. That makes it hard to shop the operation to a potential investor. I do hope that there is a way that this can be settled in a fashion that doesn't require taking it to court. Litigation is just going to draw out a bad situtation even longer and has the potential of blowing up in the VI's face. It really would be nice to see someone interested in stepping in and reopening the facility to get back those lost jobs.


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DaChief
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August 7, 2012 2:04 pm  

Wonder what an "income average" figure between 2005 and 2011 would support? ANyone have any idea- Over 6 years- profit or loss?

Some have contemplated that maybe the whole closure was a planned strategy leading to a sale. I guess the jury (no pun intended) is out on this one- one thing for sure, the next time that we sign agreementswe should include a suitable exit clause.

Face it, the unemployment has doubled over the past two quarters- how many businesses on STX have closed? What about our housing market? Many of us have strived to build a family, financial future and life here in the Territory....


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Alana33
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August 7, 2012 2:18 pm  

Unfortunately, I am leery and completely distrustful of ANYTHING our VI Government gets its hands on to be involved in running.
We have all seen how well they do with WAPA, WMA, the Hospitals, and the Legislature, itself, just to name a few.

When they do make a deal, they give away the farm with tax exemptions to the incoming entity and then raise taxes for the local taxpayers to compensate for the revenue loss.

Why not solict companies that make solar panels and wind turbines and stop polluting the air and people's cistern water with foul and toxic emissions that another refinery will bring? Our gas prices IN STT and STJ continue to be above stateside prices when we had a refinery located 36 miles, from sea bouy to sea bouy/STX - STT, so I don't see how having another refiney is going to lower costs when we have a Government that cannot negotiate lower prices, to begin with.


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sttanon
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August 7, 2012 2:44 pm  

Wonder what an "income average" figure between 2005 and 2011 would support? ANyone have any idea- Over 6 years- profit or loss?

At a loss


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Iris Tramm
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August 7, 2012 3:06 pm  

And the fun begins! Let the lawyers make some more $$$$.

Seriously though, would someone provide a link to the Duff and Phelps comprehensive analysis that the Govenor referenced in his speech? I for one would like to read it.

Hey Foodie, if you get it can you send me a copy? Just heard about this this morning.


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stxfoodie
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August 7, 2012 3:23 pm  

[Hey Foodie, if you get it can you send me a copy? Just heard about this this morning.

IF I get it I, I can.......and will........


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Bombi
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August 7, 2012 4:06 pm  

The Governor's speech about Hovensa

optimist with low expectations on STX


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Neil
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August 7, 2012 9:29 pm  

I doubt they can just close it down permanently. At that point, the environmental damage would become clear and they'd be liable for HUNDREDS of millions of dollars in clean-up. It's a future superfund site to be sure.

I also wonder how long they can simply mothball it before it's past the point where it could be resurrrected. My guess is it's probably there now. Converting it into a storage facility probably just let's them avoid the inevitable replacement or reclamation costs. Perhaps the Gov knows this and is calling their bluff.


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vicanuck
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August 8, 2012 12:05 pm  

Where there's smoke, there's fire.

If there is this much chatter about Hovensa, something must be in the works.

Stay tuned...details at 11.


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vicanuck
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August 9, 2012 12:12 pm  

Told ya so....


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usvichic
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August 9, 2012 5:24 pm  

How can the government force a private entity to sell or restart? I am not clear on how they can do that. If someone could explain that to me, I would be grateful.


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Bombi
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August 9, 2012 5:48 pm  

The Gov can charge them the full $14 million in property tax, cancel the underwater grounds lease where they have their docks, force a complete clean up and mitigation of the site, deny the application for a petroleum storage terminal and force them to comply with the last extension agreement, very expensive

optimist with low expectations on STX


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donefarming
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August 9, 2012 7:28 pm  

Has anyone heard of a time frame on all of this? Wondering what we could realistically expect time wise. Also wondering, could the past due monies owed by wapa muddy the waters and delay the process?


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blu4u
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August 9, 2012 10:57 pm  

The Gov can charge them the full $14 million in property tax, cancel the underwater grounds lease where they have their docks, force a complete clean up and mitigation of the site, deny the application for a petroleum storage terminal and force them to comply with the last extension agreement, very expensive

and then HOVENSA cries poor. Then the USVI claims the property under a tax lien. Then USVI owns a decaying inoperable superfund site.
Lets get this straight, I'm no fan of HOVENSA. But face facts, no way they are cleaning up with out a long and expensive fight. Months before announcing the closure HOVENSA's CEO was very publiclly pleading for cooperation from the local USVI government (to pay it's bill & cost cooperate on bring in LNG or alternative fuel for both the refierny and WAPA) and from the EPA. No dice. No discussion. Both the locals and the feds allowed Hovensa to quit. No break-up sex, no let's give this another chance. Look what's happened to gas prices (usvi and us) partly because of the decreased production.

I still maintain that VP Biden's visit was "lipservice" to HOVENSA. The feds knew and they didn't want to "appear" to be in bed with big oil. Uncle Sam screwed STX and US consumer by refusing to play ball. The enviromental issue is enormous. Now what?
As I see it HOVENSA has no choice to sell to another private entity, with the total amount of the sale held in escrow for clean-up to be completed in five years. If the amount of the sale is not enough to cover the clean up expense, then the VI imposes a transfer tax on the seller equal to the shortfall, before title is granted. Maybe the VI can "hold" some product as collertal. Sieze all the assets like Hovensa is terrorist orgainzation. USVI comports itself like a bannana republic in every other asspect. Why not lay down some 3rd world schooling on these boys?
Since the VI and uncle sam wouldn't come to the table last winter, now they are forced to walk the no-talk walk and play hard ball.

Not holding my breath.


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DaChief
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August 10, 2012 2:13 pm  

Big Business will ALWAYS do what's good for big business. Yes, they'll try and help along the route- but nearly everything in the mental sphere of doing business is strictly profit oriented.

Some of my sources state that the VIG STILL owes "H" close to $200 million. The $50 million a year fuel discount did not help either; I support this type of discounting because it shows a support for our local financial structure- but the VIG needs to pay their bills.

But then again, certain moves that have played been leaves me to think that we haven't been included in the party- For instance, why were the highest paid members (Marine Pilots) of the refinery kept on board when so many were laid off? These Pilots make tons of money and are subject to lengthy training regimens. My thought is that they have every intention of reopening as either a restructured or sold entity.

If they were truly thinking of a cessation of business, why would they keep these workers? I don't know- remember that a company in NY Harbor cleared out almost 95% of their unionized workers and then hired those from another sector, this was a planned and well executed coup against organized labor, it was tied up in the courts for years, but "H" prevailed.

I have also witnessed the "transformation" of a town called Port Arthur, TX when a local oil company who had been the largest oil concern in the region statred laying off workers- this area was economically devastated by this series of lay offs and "restructuring" and has never recovered. Companies in this area enjoyed large tax breaks and incentives and had called Port Arthur home for over 50 years....


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blu4u
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August 10, 2012 2:27 pm  

What about the cheveron fire in richmond? Does this give Hess a reason to ramp up product. or will they just take advantage and raise prices?
Another probelm is the current adminstration wants high gas prices and drecreased production. Seem like you need a PhD ain economics to understand why inflation and unemployment is good for the long term. I don't understand why the federal government isn't more actively involved. This not just a USVI issue.

http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2012/8/9/richmond_refinery_fire_bumps_gasoline_prices.htm


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SunnyCaribe
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August 10, 2012 2:36 pm  

Well, whether the refinery is reopened or downscaled into a bunkering facility pilots will be needed to conduct ships in and out. That harbor entrance is shallow and tricky.

I must say that the VI Govt attitude towards Hess/HOVIC/Hovensa has been baffling to me. The money that the refinery brought to the territory has been the only revenue that has kept us prospering. Yet every single time the refinery came to the territory for cooperation, the VI Govt has balked. The VIGovt never paid its oil bills and yet they (we) continued to get the oil we needed, the scholarships they offered, the donations and matching grants they very freely offered without thanks or recognition of any kind.

And now the supposedly pro-business deJongh, who I have generally supported, is making demands, along with the raggamuffin elements of the legislature, of an entity when prior cooperation would have entirely avoided the problems we now face.

"So, deJongh, who's the b#### now?" one might reasonably ask.


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DaChief
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August 10, 2012 2:55 pm  

The max draft coming into the channel is 55'. This can hardly be construed as shallow and tricky. The Main Channel can easily accomodate a 300,000 Deadweight Ton VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier). It's a straight in shot with a turning with sufficient length and breadth to turn these ships around to face out on docking.

Now the Containerport channel or Krause Lagoon channel IS shallow and tricky and use VIPA Pilots, not the Hovensa ones...


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dbwilk
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August 10, 2012 10:16 pm  

According to The St. Croix Avis, Tanne Petroleum wants to buy but Hess refuses to sell. I know I'm new on here and don't live on island yet but this whole Hovensa thing is what has me holding up. I hope something is done about this asap as I'm here now and i have fallen love STX!


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