CHARLOTTE AMALIE, Virgin Islands, Feb. 10 -- The U.S. Virgin Islands legislature issued the following news release:
Senate President Shawn-Michael Malone lead his colleagues on a tour of HOVENSA Wednesday morning so that senators could better assess the refinery property and its future potential.
Twelve Senators took part in the tour of the facility in Lime-tree Bay, St. Croix. They were accompanied by General Manager, Sloan Schoyer, of the 1,800 acres petroleum facility.
"The purpose of the tour was to allow senators the opportunity to become familiar with the refinery so that they could have an understanding of the nature of the facility and, most importantly, when the time comes for decision making as it relates to the sale of the refinery, they would be able have a better understanding of what is on the table," Senator Malone said. "It is critical that we stay abreast of what is taking place at the plant."
The tour began with Senators asking questions about potential buyers. According to Schoyer, who has been working with HOVENSA for approximately 37 years, the company has retained Lazard Banking Institution, which is in the process of vetting potential buyers.
Schoyer further added that the refinery is preparing the facility to conduct tours for possible buyers when the time comes. Schoyer also indicated that there are presently 400 contractors and 115 HOVENSA employees still working in the facility. There are also approximately 33 firefighters and 16 command team members monitoring and taking care of the shuttered refinery.
On the tour, Senators first visited the West Side of the refinery which was built in 1965. Schoyer said any new owner wouldn't have to do a full turn around in order for this unit to become operable as it had been updated and maintained. He added that there is an inspection program with approximately 45-50 people policing the area and EPA made yearly inspections for oil exposure.
Senators were told the eastern portion of the refinery was the most valuable side of the HOVENSA facility. All the assets were new and that the area, which is still in operation, would be preserved as a part of any sale. They were also told that the area was the most complex part of the refinery.
Other areas visited by the senators were the Cat Cracker Plant, which was built in 2002 with its heavy oil exchangers; the Land farms where non-hazardous materials are stored and drained with regular inspection by the Department of Planning and Natural Resource; the 11 docks maintained by HOVENSA with only five being used after the closure; and the Propane Gas facility areas.
Schoyer said HOVENSA presently maintained a 30 day supply of gasoline, jet fuel and propane, which is used for running their facility and sold locally. Diageo is its largest local customer for propane.
Senate President Malone said he will convene a Committee of the Whole meeting in the month of May, which will be six months after the HOVENSA agreement was signed into law, and that it's the intent of the Senate to get a complete assessment of HOVENSA's compliance with the agreed terms.
"I would like to thank Mr. Schoyer and my colleagues," Senator Malone said. "We weren't able to have all our questions answered today, but we have been promised that they will be addressed."
Senators on Wednesday's HOVENSA's tour were: Shawn-Michael Malone, Craig W. Barshinger, Judi Buckley Diane Capeheart, Donald G. Cole, Clifford F. Graham, Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, Myron D. Jackson, Nereida Rivera-O'Reilly, Tregenza A. Roach, Terrence Nelson and Clarence Payne III.
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