Hess denies St. Lucia refinery claim

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 29 -- Hess Corp., amid a decision to cut the company's capital expenditure program for next year, said it currently has no plans to build a $5 billion refinery on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.

"While we have the option to build the refinery in St. Lucia, we have no current plans to do so," Hess Chairman and Chief Executive John B. Hess told analysts during a conference call.

Hess's statement came just days after a member of the St. Lucia government said the New York-based firm, which operates a transshipment facility on the island, was likely to build the refinery.

"Quite a substantial amount of money has been committed to the feasibility studies, and the studies undertaken so far conclude that there will be no problems putting in the refinery," said Guy Joseph, St. Lucia's communications and works minister (OGJ Online, Oct. 28, 2008).

Earlier, Hess said it will reduce its 2009 capital expenditures budget due to the current uncertain economic environment. The company did not detail the amount of the budget, saying it would provide more details in January.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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