Valero Energy Corp. is adapting to the reality of cheap oil as it gears up to expand processing capacity to meet the growing demand of diesel and jet fuel.
The San Antonio-based company is expected to its increase processing operations by an additional 185 thousand barrels per day of light crude by the first half of 2016. According to a company investor presentation obtained by the San Antonio Business Journal, the corporation believes fuel demand will grow amidst globally low crude oil prices.
The world’s largest independent refiner employees 10,000 workers worldwide and owns 15 facilities. Globally, Valero has the potential to process 2.9 million barrels per day. In North America, the company estimates its current capacity at 1.21 million barrels with the expectation of future capacity to reach 1.395 million barrels per day by 2016.
This expansion is great news for the oil fields in Eagle Ford. Although lower crude prices may temporarily constrain production growth rates, Valero stated to investors that this leaves refiners with an economic advantage. U.S. and Canadian crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids (NGLs) production growth is providing cost benefits to refiners looking for inexpensive product. Additionally, transporting crude through pipeline, tanker trucks and waterways remain at an attractive low for refiners. The added coast of transportation is roughly $1 to $4 per barrel.
Moreover, Valero’s McKee refinery north of Amarillo is anticipated to process an additional 25 million barrels a day by the second half of 2015. By the first half of 2016, the refining corporation expects to expand capacity to 90 million barrels per day in its Houston refinery and 70 million barrels at its Corpus Christi light crude refinery.
San Antonio Business journal reported that during the investor presentation, Valero officials stated that the light crude for both the Houston and Corpus Christi refineries will likely come from the Eagle Ford Shale-producing region of Southern Texas. Figures offered by Valero show that the upgrades to the Houston facility will cost $400 million while the Corpus Christi project will cost $350 million.