US Virgin Islands sues Hess Corp. over alleged contractual violations, fraud

Energy Associated Press

FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2012 file photo, the Hovensa oil refinery in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. The government of the U.S. Virgin Islands is suing a major oil company over pollution leaking from a now-shuttered refinery that was once among the ... world’s largest. The complaint filed Monday alleges a decades-long pattern of misconduct by top executives at U.S.-based Hess Corporation. The Hovensa refinery on St. Croix was a joint venture between Hess and Venezuela's state-owned oil company. It closed in January 2012 following years of weak demand, high operating costs and environmental problems. (AP Photo/Jason Bronis, File) (The Associated Press)

The U.S. Virgin Islands has sued American oil company Hess Corp., alleging that the company abandoned a massive oil refinery it had pledged to run through the year 2022.

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The government complaint filed Monday alleges misconduct by executives at Hess, which did not immediately respond to questions from The Associated Press. The refinery was once the world's largest. It closed in 2012 following years of high operating costs and pollution problems.

The lawsuit accuses Hess executives of conspiring to strip assets from the facility, leaving the U.S. Virgin Islands with claims against a broke and inoperable refinery. In 2011, Hess struck a $700 million settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency to upgrade the facility and protect public health — but it curtailed the work when it shut down refining operations.