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Sunday, February 25, 2024


May 18, 2001 — Production at the Hovensa refinery on St. Croix will be reduced by about 30,000 barrels of high-octane gasoline a day as a result of Tuesday's fire, officials said.
How much the reduction will cost the company is not yet known, but Alex Moorhead, Hovensa vice president for human resources, said the fire will cut the normal output of 175,000 to 190,000 barrels of gasoline per day by 30,000 barrels, or approximately 17 percent.
"The loss of this capacity comes at a particularly bad time," Moorhead said. "Summer is gasoline season, when most of the driving comes on the mainland."
There is no estimate yet of damages to the No. 4 platformer, where the fire broke out, Moorhead told WSTX radio, but losses will likely be in the millions of dollars.
"Nonetheless, we are grateful because no one was killed and only one person was injured, and that person is recovering well," he said.
Hovensa officials are trying to determine if human error contributed to the fire, which started Tuesday afternoon when liquid hydrocarbon, which is similar to gasoline, started to flow out of the platformer. The hydrocarbon was ignited by heat from nearby processing equipment. It took Hovensa’s fire brigade about an hour to control the blaze, which sent one worker to a burn center in Texas.
Moorhead said the fire will not affect jobs at the refinery or the cost of gasoline locally.
The St. Croix refinery, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, employs approximately 950 people, and its contractors employ more than 1,000. The refinery currently produces about 400,000 barrels of refined oil a day.

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