The owners of Hovensa have purchased and will take delivery next week of additional supplies of fuels for local distribution, Gov. John deJongh announced Saturday.
According to the news release from Government House, the company made the decision based on apparent progress being made by all parties to provide the assurances and clarifications required for the 30th Legislature to reconsider the Fourth Amendment to the Concession Agreement between the company and the Government of the Virgin Islands.
The Senate on Aug. 7 rejected the proposed deal that would have governed a one-year period during which the company’s closed refinery on St. Croix might be sold. The next week, Hovensa’s owners said once the current supply of fuel stored on St. Croix runs out, they would close their fuel rack and stop providing fuel for the islands. Some estimates indicated the territory might have run out of fuel by mid-autumn.
DeJongh said he was encouraged by Saturday’s announcement, which he said would relieve concerns of residents about a possible disruption of the fuel supply.
“I believe this is an act by Hovensa’s owners to take away any anxiety that is being experienced by the community as they work with us and the senators," the governor said. "I am optimistic that the concerns of the 30th Legislature set forth in their recent resolution will be addressed and allayed, and that the agreement which outlines the process by which the oil refinery on St Croix shall be marketed for sale will be approved so that this sales process can move forward.”
The governor said he getting a new owner operating the refinery on St Croix and putting hundreds of residents back would be the single most important step to jump starting the local economy.
DeJongh said he was informed that with these most recent purchases of fuel there is now sufficient fuel supply on the island to fulfill local demand through the balance of the calendar year.