Because of broken pipes and valves, the owners of an oil refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands were told on Monday to remove thousands of pounds of chemicals from the building.
The St. Croix refinery stores more than 40,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia and 37,000 pounds of liquefied petroleum gas, according to the EPA.
In September, the EPA identified deteriorated LPG unit pipes and valves that might cause a fire or chemical spill. Last month, the EPA said the oil refinery needed a clean air permit to restart.
In May 2021, the EPA ordered the refinery to stop operations since it is near disadvantaged neighbourhoods where people have been sick and schools have been closed.
The mid-1960s refinery, the biggest in the Western Hemisphere, was the U.S. Virgin Islands’ largest private employer. Hovensa, a joint venture of Hess Corp. and Venezuela’s state-owned oil corporation, closed in 2012 after multimillion-dollar losses.
Limetree Bay Energy bought it in 2016 and reopened the refinery in February 2021. Last year, the EPA stopped its petroleum refining and processing activities for environmental infractions.
The refinery is owned by Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation LLLP and West Indies Petroleum Limited, but West Indies Petroleum Limited did not answer.