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Chevron Seals the Deal on $53 Billion Acquisition of Hess Corporation



Chevron Corporation has disclosed its intent to acquire Hess Corporation through an all-stock transaction, valuing the deal at an impressive $53 billion. This merger is the latest in a series of consolidations sweeping across the American oil sector.

Earlier this week, both corporations issued a joint statement elaborating on the acquisition’s specifics. Under the agreement, Hess stockholders are slated to obtain 1.025 Chevron shares for each Hess share they hold, which translates to a share price of $171 for Hess. The aggregate enterprise value of Hess, factoring in its debt, is projected to reach $60 billion post-acquisition.

This merger follows closely on the heels of another significant consolidation in the industry. Exxon Mobil Corporation recently finalized its $58 billion takeover of shale-oil producer Pioneer Natural Resources Co. These consolidations underscore the sustained relevance of the oil and gas sector in the global energy milieu.

Chevron’s Chairman and CEO, Mike Wirth, expressed his views on the merger, noting, “This strategic move positions Chevron to bolster our long-term performance and further enrich our advantaged portfolio by incorporating world-class assets.”

Hess Corporation shares a historic connection with the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 1966, operating as Hess Oil Virgin Islands Corporation, it established the oil refinery on St. Croix following the acquisition of land from Annie de Chabert. By October of that year, the refinery was up and running, with its capacity dramatically escalating to a peak of 650,000 barrels per day in 1974. In 1998, Hovensa LLC, a collaboration between Hess Corporation and PDVSA, assumed control over the refinery’s operations.

Over time, Hovensa navigated through several challenges, including a $5.3 million penalty in 2011 due to Clean Air Act violations. In 2012, the decision was made to cease refinery operations, though it operated as a storage terminal till 2015 before shutting down. Despite an unsuccessful acquisition bid by Atlantic Basin Refining, November 2015 saw Limetree Bay Terminals, backed by ArcLight Capital Partners and Freepoint Commodities, successfully purchasing the facility.

Investment Backdrop with ArcLight’s Engagement

ArcLight, an American private equity firm, channelizes the retirement savings of various stakeholders including Maine teachers, NFL players, and Mayo Clinic doctors into energy investments. In December 2015, under the Mapp administration, an agreement was inked with ArcLight to manage an oil storage terminal at the south shore facility. Jake F. Erhard of ArcLight Partners, envisioned the terminal as a new market hub, leveraging ArcLight’s extensive experience across the energy spectrum to maximize the site’s potential.

In 2018, the firm ramped up its investment to reinitiate oil refining, along with announcing the immediate recruitment of 1,200 personnel. Although the initial cost of restarting was estimated at $1.4 billion, it escalated to nearly $2.7 billion over time, as per Reuters.

Despite facing numerous delays exceeding a year, oil refining commenced on February 1, as announced by Limetree Bay. Jeffrey Rinker, Limetree’s CEO, expressed enthusiasm over the start of operations. However, several issues ensued, including environmental incidents leading to a 60-day refining halt ordered by the EPA in May following a major flare mishap.

As per a Reuters’ account, contractors engaged in the refinery’s restart are yet to be compensated fully for their services, according to liens filed with the U.S. Virgin Islands Recorder of Deeds.

The impact of these issues extends beyond the stakeholders, resonating with individuals like Linda Woods, a retired educator from Maine, who expressed her disdain over her retirement funds being channeled into fossil fuel ventures. She remains hopeful that the complications at Limetree Bay might prompt legislative measures to curb oil and gas investments by pension schemes in the future, terming it a potential “watershed moment.”

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Touched by Tiva: Sativa Williams’ Journey from Hobbyist to Beauty Mogul on St. Croix



A transformational tale of ambition and artistry is unfolding on St. Croix, where Sativa Williams, the creative force behind Touched by Tiva Makeup Studio, has turned her fervent interest in makeup into a thriving enterprise. This business not only offers a wide array of beauty enhancements but also stands as a beacon for those aspiring to convert their passions into successful careers.

Sativa Williams embarked on her beautification odyssey with a simple curiosity about makeup, which quickly blossomed into a creative outlet as she adorned friends and family, receiving critical yet constructive feedback from her closest kin. Her talent became evident during her tenure at the University of the Virgin Islands on St. Thomas, where her reputation as a skilled makeup artist grew, leading to numerous requests for her services at various events.

Returning to her roots on St. Croix, the demand for Sativa’s expertise continued unabated. After experimenting with different vocations, she acknowledged her unwavering passion for the beauty sector. With the backing of her husband, Nasheem Williams, she initially launched a boutique offering lashes and hair bundles, a venture that, while eventually taking a back seat, laid the groundwork for the inception of Touched by Tiva Makeup Studio.

The studio, aptly named to reflect Sativa’s commitment to providing personalized and tender care, quickly became renowned for making clients feel so at ease that they would often doze off during their beauty sessions. Sativa, now a licensed tattoo artist, has broadened her services to include “powder brows,” a semi-permanent technique that delicately refines and accentuates eyebrows, offering lasting beauty for up to three years.

Sativa Williams’ journey is a narrative of resilience, dedication, and the relentless pursuit of one’s aspirations. She passionately encourages fellow entrepreneurs to embrace their dreams, underscoring that the road to success is paved with challenges that ultimately forge strength and resilience. “The financial rewards you seek will follow once you commit to your path,” she asserts. “Every trial encountered is merely a step toward fortifying your resolve.”

Touched by Tiva Makeup Studio invites everyone to discover the transformative experiences it offers, with detailed information on services, operating hours, and special promotions available through its website and social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram). Sativa’s evolution from a collegiate enthusiast to a celebrated entrepreneur exemplifies the power of perseverance and the realization of dreams through hard work and unwavering commitment.

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Governor Bryan Stands Firm Against EU’s Unfair Tax Blacklist



At a recent pivotal meeting, the European Union’s decision to keep the U.S. Virgin Islands on its list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions was met with immediate and stern opposition from the Government House. Governor Albert Bryan Jr., speaking at the Department of the Interior’s Interagency Group on Insular Areas annual meeting, voiced his strong disapproval of the EU’s stance, emphasizing the inappropriateness of treating the USVI as though it were a nation distinct from the United States. “Being singled out and treated differently from other U.S. territories in matters of tax is something we cannot accept,” he asserted.

Governor Bryan, who has been at the forefront of efforts to challenge the USVI’s placement on this unfavorable list since 2019, announced plans for an upcoming dialogue with officials from the State Department in Washington to address this critical issue among others impacting the territory.

The Bryan administration is calling on the European Union to reevaluate its position and acknowledge the U.S. Virgin Islands’ dedication to international standards of cooperation and transparency. Describing the continued blacklisting as unjust, the administration is committed to correcting this situation and securing equitable treatment for the residents of the USVI.

The European Union justifies its decision by pointing to the USVI’s lack of participation in the automatic exchange of financial information and its failure to sign and ratify the amended OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance. The EU also labels several of the territory’s economic initiatives, including the Economic Development program and the International Banking Center Regulatory Act, as fostering a preferential tax regime, which has led to the territory’s maintained status on the blacklist.

The creation of the EU’s tax-haven blacklist, spurred by the revelations of the Panama Papers, has faced widespread criticism for its perceived bias. Marla Dukharan, a prominent Caribbean economist, has condemned the EU’s approach as a clear display of racism and bullying, noting that a significant number of tax havens exist within EU member states themselves.

This confrontation underscores the ongoing struggle for fairness and recognition on the global stage, with Governor Bryan leading the charge to ensure the USVI is treated justly and equitably in international affairs.

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USVI Continues to Navigate EU Tax Blacklist, Highlighting Commitment to Fair Tax Practices



The landscape of international tax cooperation is ever-evolving, with recent adjustments to the European Union’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. This list, aimed at promoting fair tax competition and governance, has been updated, resulting in the removal of several jurisdictions, including the Bahamas, Belize, Seychelles, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. However, the U.S. Virgin Islands, alongside Trinidad and Tobago and Antigua and Barbuda, remain on this list, spotlighting ongoing discussions between these territories and the EU.

The European Union has raised concerns regarding the U.S. Virgin Islands’ practices in automatic exchange of financial information, as well as its participation in the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance, which has been amended to enhance global tax cooperation. Additionally, certain aspects of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Economic Development Program, the International Banking Center Regulatory Act, and the list of exempt companies have been identified by the EU as potentially fostering a preferential tax regime.

Despite these challenges, the U.S. Virgin Islands has consistently expressed its commitment to adhering to international tax standards and has refuted the classification as a non-cooperative jurisdiction. The government of the U.S. Virgin Islands has previously addressed the EU’s concerns, emphasizing the legitimacy and transparency of its economic development initiatives and denying any connection between these programs and tax avoidance strategies that could affect EU member states.

The creation of the EU blacklist was catalyzed by the Panama Papers’ revelations, showcasing the use of offshore entities for tax reduction. The list has since been a subject of debate, with critics, including prominent Caribbean economist Marla Dukharan, arguing that it reflects discriminatory practices. Dukharan has highlighted the irony in the EU’s stance, noting that a significant portion of the world’s tax havens are located within EU member states themselves, calling into question the fairness and impartiality of the blacklist.

As the U.S. Virgin Islands remains on the EU’s list, the territory’s government is actively engaging in dialogue and taking steps to address the EU’s concerns. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the U.S. Virgin Islands is recognized for its commitment to fair and transparent tax practices, aligning with global standards and contributing to the fight against tax evasion and avoidance.

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