US Virgin Islands legislators reject bill to sell Hovensa oil refinery

Energy Associated Press

Legislators in the U.S. Virgin Islands have rejected a proposal to sell the former Hovensa oil refinery in St. Croix.

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Senators voted against an agreement that would have allowed a local company to buy the refinery that closed in early 2012 after years of weak demand and high operating costs. Atlantic Basin Refining Inc. had pledged to employ more than 700 workers and make more than $1.6 billion in fixed payments.

Several senators said in a statement late Friday that they believed the deal would not have benefited the government financially.

Gov. John de Jongh Jr. warned that the legislative action would have serious repercussions on the local economy.

Hovensa was once one of the region's largest oil refineries and employed 2,000 workers when it announced the closure.