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Caribbean refiners under heavy pressure

The economic model behind the region’s processing plants is coming under severe strain

The Caribbean refining sector continues to weather turbulent business conditions, as costs remain high, uncertainties grow over the future of cheap Venezuelan oil exports, and US Gulf Coast refiners soak up supply from North American shale oil production. Two of the largest refineries in the region closed in 2012 and remain so today, despite efforts to revive their fortunes. The Hovensa refinery at St Croix in the US Virgin Islands has been shut since January 2012, when owners Hess and Venezuela’s state oil firm PdV pulled the plug on the venture. More than $1 billion of investment to make the facility more competitive couldn’t save the refinery. Once the largest refinery in the world, with

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