One of Woodbridge's biggest employers and taxpayers, Hess Corporation has announced that they will be permanently shutting their Port Reading refinery business by the end of February.
Hess made the announcement as gasoline futures prices spiked to $2.925, their highest level since October, according to a Bloomberg.com report. The company said they will be leaving the gasoline refinery business because of weak demand and the cost of complying with EPA requirements for low sulfur heating fuel, Bloomberg noted.
The facility, upon which the company has been experiencing massive losses in recent quarters, has "lost money in two of the last three years," according to the Bloomberg report.
In November, Moody's Investor Service singled out Woodbridge as one of six municipalities impacted by Hurricane Sandy who could experience "severe credit stress." Woodbridge had made the list because of the township's financial reliance on Hess, one of its biggest taxpayers and a big local employer, and the impact of the refinery staying closed only temporarily.
The township had only recently been removed from a Moody's list that rated the township's financial health as "unfavorable" because of a relatively small 'cash on hand' position.
Mayor John McCormac could not be reached for comment.