Valero will soon have fifth refinery processing 100 percent North American crude

Repost from the San Antonio Business Journal
[Editor: Note brief reference to Valero’s Benicia Refinery at end of this article.   – RS]

Valero will soon have fifth refinery processing 100 percent North American crude

By Sergio Chapa, Sep 11, 2015, 6:44pm CDT
File photo Valero Energy Corporation's Jean Gaulin Refinery in Quebec City
File photo – Valero Energy Corporation’s Jean Gaulin Refinery in Quebec City

San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp. is expected to have its fifth refinery capable of processing nothing but North American crude by the end of the year.

Valero (NYSE: VLO) revealed in an investors’ presentation released earlier this week that its Jean Gaulin Refinery in Quebec will be processing 100 percent North American crude oil by the end of the year.

Company figures show that the refinery was 100 percent dependent on foreign crude oil in first quarter 2013, but production from the tar sands region of Canada and the shale plays of the United States has dramatically changed the situation.

The Jean Gaulin Refinery is processing about 80 percent North American-sourced crude oil but will be at 100 percent once a project to modify the Enbridge Line 9B Pipeline is completed in the fourth quarter. The project will reverse the flow of the pipeline to enable oil from the tar sands region of Alberta to flow east to Valero’s refinery in Quebec.

Most refineries were built decades ago and were configured to process to Middle Eastern oil, but Valero spokesman Bill Day told the San Antonio Business Journal that the Jean Gaulin Refinery is lined up to be the fifth of the company’s refinery capable of processing 100 percent North American crude oil.

Day said Valero’s Ardmore, McKee, Memphis and Three Rivers refineries can already process 100 percent North American crude oil, while other plants are processing an increasing amount of North American crude.

The investors presentation shows that Valero is expanding its capacity to process a total of 185,000 barrels per day of light sweet crude from the Eagle Ford and other shale plays at the company’s McKee, Houston and Corpus Christi refineries in Texas.

Day said that the addition of the Keystone XL Pipeline would enable Valero to replace foreign heavy crude with heavy crude from Canada. He also noted that a proposed rail terminal at the company’s Benicia refinery in California, would enable Valero to offset foreign crude brought in by ship with North American crude brought in by rail.

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