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St. Croix Energy Objects as West Indies Petroleum Declared Winner of Limetree Auction

A joint bid by Jamaica-based West Indies Petroleum and Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation was named the winning bidder for the bankrupt Limetree Bay Refinery on St. Croix following a two-day auction that concluded Saturday, according to documents filed Saturday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.

St. Croix Energy, which placed second in the reopened bidding, immediately filed an objection, arguing that the auction had been improperly reopened after St. Croix Energy had been declared the winner in November.

West Indies Petroleum ended up bidding $62 million for the shuttered refinery, which faces a series of stringent requirements from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency if the new owners hope to reopen the facility.

According to the court documents [Limetree Winning Bid Document], West Indies Petroleum has until Jan. 21 to complete the sale and become the owner of all assets of the refinery, which had been opened by Hess Oil in 1966 and operated for most of its history as Hovensa. If West Indies cannot complete the sale by that date, St. Croix Energy will become the default winner at the cost of $57 million.

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Either way, the reopened bidding will have secured almost triple the return to the debtors. The original bidding on Nov. 18 resulted in St Croix Energy being declared the winner with a bid of about $20 million.

On Dec. 6, Bankruptcy Judge David R. Jones ordered the bidding reopened after attorneys for the Limetree debt holders argued that West Indies Petroleum had missed the chance to bid because of a sudden, serious illness on the part of the company’s executive officer.

Judge Delays Limetree Bay Sale Hearing to Allow New Bidder

In its objecting to the results of the auction, [St. Croix Energy Objection] St. Croix Energy argued that the original auction had been conducted in accordance with the rules approved by the court in advance. It also argued that Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation had not been a bidder in the original auction and therefore was improperly permitted to take part in the reopened auction.

St. Croix Energy said in its complaint it has “worked diligently with the debtors” to finalize the transaction after being named the winning bidder pursuant to the bidding procedures order.

“Despite SCE providing the highest and best offer for the debtors’ assets, and SCE complying in all respects with the bidding procedures order, the auction was reopened over the objection of SCE for a bid, which introduced a new joint bidder, that would close a month later than the date on which SCE was prepared to close – Dec. 22 … Thus, SCE hereby renews its objection to the order reopening auction and, accordingly, objects to the sale to WIPL and PHRT as contrary to the bidding procedures order, as neither bidder was a qualified bidder as of the deadline set by the Bid Procedures Order.”

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A joint bid by Jamaica-based West Indies Petroleum and Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation was named the winning bidder for the bankrupt Limetree Bay Refinery on St. Croix following a two-day auction that concluded Saturday, according to documents filed Saturday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. St. Croix Energy, which placed second in the reopened bidding, immediately filed an objection, arguing that the auction had been improperly reopened after St. Croix Energy had been declared the winner in November. West Indies Petroleum ended up bidding $62 million for the shuttered refinery, which faces a series of stringent requirements from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency if the new owners hope to reopen the facility. According to the court documents [Limetree Winning Bid Document], West Indies Petroleum has until Jan. 21 to complete the sale and become the owner of all assets of the refinery, which had been opened by Hess Oil in 1966 and operated for most of its history as Hovensa. If West Indies cannot complete the sale by that date, St. Croix Energy will become the default winner at the cost of $57 million. Either way, the reopened bidding will have secured almost triple the return to the debtors. The original bidding on Nov. 18 resulted in St Croix Energy being declared the winner with a bid of about $20 million. On Dec. 6, Bankruptcy Judge David R. Jones ordered the bidding reopened after attorneys for the Limetree debt holders argued that West Indies Petroleum had missed the chance to bid because of a sudden, serious illness on the part of the company's executive officer. Judge Delays Limetree Bay Sale Hearing to Allow New Bidder In its objecting to the results of the auction, [St. Croix Energy Objection] St. Croix Energy argued that the original auction had been conducted in accordance with the rules approved by the court in advance. It also argued that Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation had not been a bidder in the original auction and therefore was improperly permitted to take part in the reopened auction. St. Croix Energy said in its complaint it has "worked diligently with the debtors" to finalize the transaction after being named the winning bidder pursuant to the bidding procedures order. "Despite SCE providing the highest and best offer for the debtors' assets, and SCE complying in all respects with the bidding procedures order, the auction was reopened over the objection of SCE for a bid, which introduced a new joint bidder, that would close a month later than the date on which SCE was prepared to close – Dec. 22 ... Thus, SCE hereby renews its objection to the order reopening auction and, accordingly, objects to the sale to WIPL and PHRT as contrary to the bidding procedures order, as neither bidder was a qualified bidder as of the deadline set by the Bid Procedures Order."