The leaders of Limetree Bay Terminals are further distancing themselves from the troubled refinery side of the shared fuel facility in Estate Hope on St. Croix by rebranding under the name “Ocean Point Terminals.”
Effective today, the fuel bunkering operation will be doing business as Ocean Point Terminals, a name that “was carefully developed and selected by the Company’s employees,” according to a press release issued Sunday.
“It was really important for us to choose a brand that speaks to the operational excellence of our local employees, their dedication to safety, and the ongoing stewardship our company provides,” CEO Todd Dillabough said in a written statement. “The name Ocean Point Terminals connects the business to both the USVI community and the world.”
The company had been teasing the name change on social media, and said that “Ocean Point Terminals is a name that recognizes our beautiful and strategic location in the USVI, which serves as the ideal point for the global movement of petroleum products essentially connecting the USVI to the rest of the world.”
While Limetree Bay Refining went into bankruptcy following the disastrous failed restart of the St. Croix refinery, Limetree Bay/Ocean Point Terminals is a separate corporate entity.
The terminal “is a world-class energy logistics hub centrally located in the Caribbean facilitating the storage, segregation, blending, and global movement of crude oils, fuel oils, bunker, gasolines, diesel, jet fuel, and liquid petroleum gases,” according to the company. “Customers include integrated global oil majors, refiners, and global trading houses. The facility consists of 167 tanks, with a capacity of approximately 34 million barrels, and deep-water access to 11 docks including an offshore single point mooring (SPM) buoy capable of loading and discharging vessels up to VLCC size.”
The terminal operates independently as a fuel bunkering facility, but still shares certain infrastructure services with the former Limetree Bay refinery, including power, phone lines, and other information technology systems.
The terminal’s owners filed suit against the refinery’s new owner, Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation, in V.I. Superior Court in June, claiming that the company has failed to make payments required under a shared services agreement and is in breach of that contract.
Court records show that the terminal also has been filing notices to refinery employees who live in company housing, ordering them to vacate the premises.
Attorney Andrew Simpson filed a response to the complaint on behalf of Port Hamilton on July 28, which denies most of the allegations but acknowledges that a shared services agreement was entered in November 2018.
According to the response, Port Hamilton “admits that it has not paid the amount that plaintiff claims is due for the shared services,” but also “avers that some of the services provided by plaintiff were unacceptable. The case is still pending.
Meanwhile, Limetree Bay Terminals is still a named defendant alongside Limetree Bay Refining LLC in another civil case brought by the U.S. Justice Department on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, which claims refinery officials publicly minimized serious accidents and chemical releases that endangered St. Croix residents’ health.
The complaint was filed after the EPA issued an emergency shutdown order on May 14, 2021, requiring Limetree to “cease refinery operations” after repeated flares and oil sprays contaminated drinking water and crops.
The Justice Department also filed an unopposed motion to stay all deadlines in that case when it was filed on July 12, 2021, and the parties have been filing status reports under a joint stipulation in U.S. District Court ever since.
The latest report filed on July 27 does not include Limetree Bay Refining “because it ceased to exist on June 10, 2022,” and operations at the refinery remain idled, according to the joint filing by Justice Department Environmental Enforcement Senior Counsel Myles Flint II and Limetree Bay Terminals LLC General Counsel Mark Chavez.
Since the refinery’s bankruptcy sale closed on Jan. 21, the purchaser, Port Hamilton, has been providing the EPA with access to real time air monitoring data collected by five on-site sulfur dioxide and five hydrogen sulfide ambient air monitors, according to the report.
In addition, the parties “have begun discussing a modification to the Joint Stipulation to reflect the changes in ownership of the Refinery and the requirements of the Bankruptcy Court.”
One of Port Hamilton’s principal owners, Charles Chambers, told senators at a committee hearing in July that they intend to restart refinery operations in 2023. But the refinery still needs approximately $200 million in additional investment — and EPA approval — neither of which are guaranteed.
Chambers has yet to respond to several questions from The Daily News, and has not publicly identified all of the refinery’s new owners and investors.
Teri Helenese, who identified herself as an “independent consultant for communications” and “independent consultant” to Chambers and the Office of Gov. Albert Bryan Jr., respectively, told The Daily News on July 17 that Port Hamilton “is organizing a face-to-face refinery tour.”
On July 27, The Daily News asked if a tour had been scheduled, and Helenese responded in an email on Aug. 1: “When Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation provides me with any updates to communicate, I will update the media.”