• Limetree Bay refinery loan providers ‘objected to’ new funding
  • Bankruptcy filing arrives after EPA-ordered plant shutdown

July 12 (Reuters) – The owners of Limetree Bay, a refinery on the U.S. Virgin Islands that was once the greatest in the Western Hemisphere, submitted for personal bankruptcy on Monday following creditors balked at placing new dollars into a job dogged by environmental violations, price overruns and regulatory troubles.

The St. Croix refinery overhaul was the most high priced effort in virtually a decade to broaden refining ability in the hemisphere. Investors plunged a lot more than $4 billion into the undertaking, aimed at having edge of its primary site along transport routes in the Caribbean. The program fizzled just after development delays and the COVID-19 pandemic, which slashed desire for gas all over the world.

The refinery eventually restarted in February – only to shut 3 months later on when Limetree Bay ran afoul of U.S. environmental regulators who ordered it shut soon after a collection of fires and noxious gasoline releases.

“Severe economic and regulatory constraints have still left us no decision but to go after this route, after very careful thought of all choices,” Jeff Rinker, Limetree Bay’s chief executive, stated of the individual bankruptcy submitting in a statement.

The U.S. Environmental Defense Agency (EPA) in May perhaps purchased the plant to shut quickly immediately after the gasoline releases contaminated neighborhood ingesting drinking water, shut a school and led residents to complain of respiration problems and foul odors.

The EPA buy, and subsequent investigations by U.S. officials, made traders wary of investing the further cash wanted to get the refinery restarted, the company claimed in court filings.

Late on Monday, Limetree and its debtors requested courtroom acceptance to get up to $25 million in so-identified as debtor-in-possession financing. This would permit the events to promptly borrow $5.5 million, with approval for relaxation of the quantity at subsequent hearings.

A lot more just lately, lenders objected to the plant’s simply call for new income to finish the venture, in accordance to the head of EIG Worldwide Electrical power Associates, the Washington-centered personal equity organization that leads the most significant investor group.

“EIG supports the company’s initiatives to protected funding,” EIG Chairman Blair Thomas claimed in a statement, adding “to day the senior lenders have objected” to those people efforts. The organization and its partners turned “the hesitant proprietors” earlier this year when its first sponsor withdrew, he mentioned.

Westbourne Capital, an Australian debt trader that presented a $700 million phrase financial loan, holds the senior-most personal debt in the project and could make a decision the plant’s fate, according to a human being common with the matter who was not authorised to speak to media and declined to be identified. Westbourne did not reply to requests for comment.

In the absence of any interim funding, Limetree’s refinery operations are forecast to melt away through practically $7 million more than the future 3 weeks. The refinery only had about $3.5 million in hard cash on hand when it submitted its Chapter 11 petition.

When A Leading REFINERY

Limetree Bay, previously recognised as Hovensa, was idled in 2012, and submitted for bankruptcy a few years later on. At a single point, its around 600,000-barrel-for each-day capability designed it the major in the Western Hemisphere. It restarted in February with the purpose of creating as a great deal as 210,000 barrels of gasoline a day.

It was obtained in 2016 by Arclight Money Companions and Freepoint Commodities which gathered up to $3.5 billion in fairness for the project, people today acquainted with the make a difference said.

The plant used approximately 400 people, most of whom had been needed to be U.S. Virgin Island people. The workplace of USVI Governor Albert Bryan Jr. did not reply to a request for remark.

Traders experienced hoped to income from an global clean-air maritime gas mandate acknowledged as IMO 2020 but the restart of the 210,000-barrel-per-working day facility immediately attracted problems from people. Reuters also reported the facility was also not checking for sulfur dioxide as expected by law. read through extra

Following the EPA purchased the refinery to shut for at least 60 days, the company’s buyers commenced to doubt no matter if the refinery could restart, reported Mark Shapiro, the chief restructuring officer, in a late Monday courtroom filing.

Court filings on Monday showed that previous Bear Stearns senior taking care of director Steven Pully was named to negotiate with “multiple probable loan providers” for urgently desired funding that would permit the plant to run in personal bankruptcy. The filings did not say no matter whether Limetree Bay had received any commitments.

The project had liabilities of amongst $500 million and $1 billion and property valued at $1 billion to $10 billion, according to the filings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court docket, Houston.

Among the the prime 30 unpaid suppliers owed a lot more than $150 million was oil producer BP (BP.L) and design and machines companies Universal Plant Services, Elite Turnaround Professionals and Excel Development.

Reporting by Laura Sanicola and Tim McLaughlin writing by Gary McWilliams and David Gaffen Added reporting by Shubham Kalia modifying by Edwina Gibbs, Louise Heavens, Aurora Ellis and Chizu Nomiyama

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