WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH HOVENSA?
Here is Tanne's website:
One of the 622 rumors I've heard is to re-purpose the refinery to do "light" refining, separate the crude into different categories of raw or near raw product, without going though the energy intensive pressure cooker catalyst refining. Sort of a tank-farm with light refining concept. Here's hoping something can be worked out to get as many people back working as possible.
"Governor, all of the horses have fled the ranch"
de Jongh: "Hurry, close the barn door!"
The VI government did not build or incentivize the private construction of alternative infrastructure for fuel landing, tankage or distribution for the island of STX, instead they relied on a private corporation to be the sole provider. Now with the imminent threat of closure of theses vital services they think they can dictate the terms of a new agreement?
I have always found the hubris of some locals quite perplexing.
a California refinery just changed hands:
Wow, that deal included 800 retail outlets. Looks like they were given the refinery as a consolation prize as it must not have much value (probably needs significant economic and EPA upgrades - but not as much as Hovensa.)
a California refinery just changed hands:
This is the first time I post.
I worked for a contractor as an out-of-state employee in Hovensa for over 5 years. I had the great opportunity to work there and I feel the outmost respect and admiration for the hard working locals I met. Being there for such a long time you learn and embrace the culture. Most locals understood I wasn't there to take over a job position, appreciated the experience I brought with me, and were thankful whenever I would share my knowledge.
I do not know all the politics that well, but I do know that the VI Government must have or at least suspected that Hovensa was in financial trouble. Over a year before the obvious I had heard rumors that the site was bleeding cash at a dangerous rate. Those rumors do fly out and spread very fast. If the government didn't pay attention, or just simply let denial get the best of them is a different story. The fact is they had more than plenty of time for discovery.
STT and STJ have always gotten the benefit of tourism and not so much STX. Cruz is largely dependent on processing industries with that section of the south shore dedicated for that. All the sites there, Hovensa, Geonet (former Vialco, and is sitting idle if am not mistaken), Diageo, and Cruzan Rum, all contribute to pollution. Though not industries, but the landfill and the airport also add to the pollution. Former Vialco is a major issue with the gigantic pile of "red mud". That so called mud is something that the adjacent communities located down wind have to put up with every single day of their lives.
Saying that the site (Hovensa) should be dismantled and cleaned-up is an illusion. The demolition itself adds more trash and, even after a clean-up, it will take forever for the place to be "safe". IMHO, the logical solution is for Hess, with the help of the VI Government, to sell the site to a suitable partner. The damage to the land is already done so you might as well keep on using it as is. That being said, areas need to be cleaned and steps should be taken to reduce the impact in the future if the site goes online again. There is no excuse to continue polluting the place, NONE whatsoever. You can process crude and cause minimal to no damage.
At the same time, IMHO the government needs to give the STX tourism industry a big shot in the arm. New, modern, and state of the art hotels can be built and the existing ones need to step up to the plate. I've stayed in an affordable hotel in STT and it makes you realize how far behind STX hotels are. The other thing is that in some of the hotels and resorts in STX cell phone coverage is horrible. I can list Carambola, Divi, Tamarind Reef, and Chenay Bay in that category. As a tourist; would you really want to stay at a place with no or next to no mobile phone coverage? Really?
As for the refinery being restarted, well, I am sorry to say it is not as easy as it looks. Industrial sites are designed to operate under hi temperatures and pressure. Take that away, and it self destroys very very quickly. You purge the vessels and some of the piping with nitrogen and that will protect the inside of it, but there is nothing you can do to protect the outside. It took a couple of months to bring the units down, yet it will take months and months to bring the refinery online partially. The east refinery is a state of the art facility but the west needs major upgrades to make it efficient and with improved emission controls. The longer the site sits idle, the worse it will get, and the more it becomes a tremendous environmental and health hazzard.
Upgrading to CNG? That is a good one. You have to build a storage facility and make major changes in the piping and the equipment in order to operate with this fuel. You also have to find a good reliable supplier. LNG hasn't being found in the Caribbean, and lot of it is found close to Lousiana and the Texas panhandle. The cost of all of that is in the billions of dollars for such a large process plant.
Please, accept the fact that petroleum industries are necessary both for the economy and our way of life. My hard earn money was always going back to local businesses which I always favored. You don't like crude? Try fabricating a computer without it! The reality is you wouldn't be able to almost have a thing without refineries!
A good compromise IS possible. Hess Oil, PDVSA, and the VI government are all to blame for this, but it is time to be pro-active and do something about it. The more this lingers, the longer the road to recovery will be and STX will be saddled with another waste land like the one where the red mud stands now.
If the refinery is ever re-started I will be the first one to want to go back. Not just for work, but to also enjoy the place, the friends, comradery, and culture. I may not be and STX local, but home is where the heart is. I left STX and my heart stayed behind!
Things are impossible only if you believe it! If there is only 1% of hope, then, there is hope!
Good first post Rowdy.
I agree with your assessment about the cost of removing the facility and cleaning up the environmental mess. And as I've posted, I suspect that is the hammer the USVI govt can hold over Hovensa's head. I believe that's in their contract...that the land reverts back to the VI.
I watch the gas prices here everyday on my "Gas Buddy" app, and try to buy the lowest price. Oddly enough, around here that is often HESS. I also shop for best prices and rarely look at where something is made, or who's factory is closing because of such globalization. If you're like me, then, you're part of the problem. And that goes for the VI govt as well. They don't have clean hands in this.
A similar situation happened in Puerto Rico with the land used for the CORCO Refinery. The place ceased operations decades ago and, to this day, there are all kinds of lawsuits and not much clean-up has taken place. It is pretty much wasteland. I hope the VI Govt. can enforce the clause requiring the clean-up, if it gets to that point.
I have hard time believing that the USVI "government" is prepared to supervise a clean-up. I hope I am wrong.
Look at how the Navy is cleaning up thier legacy super fund site on VQS (not).
Does anyone know what exactly is involved in the "clean-up"?
Like is their some sort of triage protocol in place?