Quiros said the recent announcement that the huge Hovensa refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands will close this month seems linked to a lack of crude shipments from Venezuela. Much of the oil processed at the refinery has traditionally come from Venezuela, and Hovensa is a joint venture of U.S.-based Hess Corp. and PDVSA.
Hovensa said it was closing because losses have totaled $1.3 billion over the past three years. The shutdown is also part of a larger trend across the U.S. of refineries closing due to the economic crisis and shifting markets.
Jorge Pinon, a research fellow at the University of Texas' Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, said shutting down the Hovensa refinery "was a sensible economic decision."
"The refinery was loosing money for a number of reasons and it was financially beneficial to both partners shutting it down," Pinon said.
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