Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Business

NexLube halts construction on $120 million project at Port of Tampa

TAMPA — Construction of one of the most important projects at the Port of Tampa is on hold because of financial problems with the $120 million oil recycling facility, port officials said Tuesday.

In 2012, NexLube Tampa LLC signed a 20-year lease with the port authority and started building the 54,400-square-foot processing plant and 9,200-square-foot office building on 12.3 acres at the port's Pendola Point.

Set to open in 2014, NexLube billed it as the most advanced oil recycling plant in the world.

But Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman, who sits on the port's governing board, said Tuesday that port officials have told her the company recently stopped construction for up to six months while it renegotiates contracts to shore up the project's finances.

"It's a very important project," Murman said. "I have complete confidence that they're going to finish the project."

This was not the project's first stumble. Last month, the company's former chief operating officer, Enzio D'Angelo, filed suit against NexLube in Hillsborough circuit court amid an ugly split between the two.

NexLube chose to build Florida's first oil re-refinery in Tampa to take advantage of the port's access to shipping lanes and rail lines. The plant — when, or if, it is finished — will use extreme heat and pressure to process 24 million gallons of used oil annually, transforming it into petroleum products to be resold, like cleaner-burning diesel.

NexLube's most important and most lucrative product would be the purest form of oil there is: technical-grade white oil, also known as TGWO or base oil. It's the only lubricant safe enough to make products for human consumption, like water bottles or hygiene products. TGWO is also used to lubricate machines that handle food products.

It also would be one of the most environmentally safe oil recycling facilities in the world, the company said. It would be powered by natural gas and its own petroleum byproducts, creating no waste products. It also would recycle used oil that otherwise would have been burned or dumped illegally, leaving less of the toxic substance to poison the air and water.

Officials from the Tampa Port Authority, NexLube and its corporate parent, Riata Corporate Group of Texas, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

When the NexLube deal was first announced in 2012, it was expected to create up to 75 high-paying jobs and 100 indirect jobs in the Tampa Bay area. State and county officials also offered the company several financial lures: $630,000 in state tax incentives and a 75 percent break on local property taxes.

Murman said port staffers are not concerned that the NexLube project will remain stalled.

"There didn't seem to be any high-level concern about them being able to finish at all," she said. "I know the people at NexLube. I trust them. I think that whatever situation they've gotten into, I'm sure they'll get it straightened out."

Jamal Thalji can be reached at (813) 226-3404, [email protected] or @jthalji on Twitter.

Comments
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severs contract with CareerSource Pinellas

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri severed his agency’s contract with CareerSource Pinellas on Monday after learning that the jobs center told the state it helped 624 sheriff’s employees get hired since 2014.The sheriff said he has no record of CareerSou...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Water Street Tampa sketches vision for Marriott Waterside (with video)

Water Street Tampa sketches vision for Marriott Waterside (with video)

TAMPA — Water Street Tampa developers outlined some broad goals for their planned $40 million renovation of the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina in a video posted to social media on Monday.In short, they want a hotel that feels inclusive, not ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Solar industry on edge as Trump weighs tariffs on panels

Solar industry on edge as Trump weighs tariffs on panels

Associated PressDALLAS — Some in the U.S. solar-power industry are hoping a decision this week by President Donald Trump doesn’t bring on an eclipse. Companies that install solar-power systems for homeowners and utilities are bracing for Trump’s call...
Published: 01/22/18
Tampa Bay ranks No. 5 for top moving destinations

Tampa Bay ranks No. 5 for top moving destinations

TAMPA — Tampa Bay was the No. 5 moving destination in 2017. Penske Truck Rental’s annual list ranks metro areas based on the number of one-way moving truck rentals to them.The Tampa Bay region, which includes Sarasota, held its position from 2016. It...
Published: 01/22/18
Free clinics respond as more people head to the ER with dental problems (w/video)

Free clinics respond as more people head to the ER with dental problems (w/video)

Charles Lee had been dealing with an excruciating toothache for days. The pain made it hard to eat or sleep or focus on work. But Lee, 54, didn’t have dental insurance. His job as a delivery truck driver offered only a supplemental policy that was to...
Published: 01/22/18
Fur and fury at 40,000 feet as more people bring animals on planes

Fur and fury at 40,000 feet as more people bring animals on planes

When Marlin Jackson arrived at his row on a Delta flight from Atlanta to San Diego in June, the middle seat was already occupied by a man with a sizable dog on his lap. Jackson squeezed by them to his window seat, and the Labrador mix lunged at his f...
Published: 01/22/18
Teens who spend less time in front of screens are happier - up to a point, new research shows

Teens who spend less time in front of screens are happier - up to a point, new research shows

In recent months, Silicon Valley executives have been speaking out about the purposely addictive designs of smartphones and social media, which make them hard to put down for anyone, but particularly teenagers. Now, a new report puts numbers to the w...
Published: 01/22/18
Sirata Beach Resort is getting a $15-million facelift

Sirata Beach Resort is getting a $15-million facelift

ST. PETE BEACH — A year ago, the longtime owners of the Sirata Beach Resort & Conference Center acknowledged they couldn’t afford the improvements it needed. They sold the 382-room hotel to a Texas company.Now the new owner has launched a $15 million...
Published: 01/22/18
This is how MoviePass hopes to make money off your low-cost subscription

This is how MoviePass hopes to make money off your low-cost subscription

MoviePass is a film nerd’s dream. The subscription service allows users to see one movie a day at a theater for a single monthly cost. The service isn’t new, but it’s become popular among a lot more than movie buffs in the past few months.During its ...
Published: 01/22/18
Florida pump prices jump 10 cents, highest in four years

Florida pump prices jump 10 cents, highest in four years

Gas is off to an expensive start this year — the most expensive start since 2014. Florida pump prices jumped 10 cents in the past week to hit $2.54 per gallon Monday, 18 cents more than last month, according to AAA The Auto Club Group. Tampa Bay gas ...
Published: 01/22/18