US Valero’s Q4 net income surges on strong refining throughput margins

29 January 2013 13:28  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Valero’s fourth-quarter net income surged to $1.01bn (€747m) from $45m reported in the same period the year before, on higher refining throughput margins in each of the company's regions and lower refining operating expenses, the US-based refiner said on Tuesday.

The increase in refining throughput margins was mainly due to the increase in discounts for medium sour, heavy sour, and domestic light crude oils, the company added.

The group’s operating revenues for the three months ended 31 December remained steady year on year at $34.7bn, while fourth-quarter operating income rose steeply to $1.58bn versus $167m in same period of 2011.

A significant decline in ethanol margins partially offset the increase in operating income, Valero said.

Fourth-quarter 2012 refining throughput volume averaged 2.64m bbls/day, down 73,000 bbls/day from the fourth quarter of 2011 mainly due to the lack of throughput volume at the group's Aruba refinery, which was shut down in the first quarter of 2012.

"This was Valero's best fourth-quarter earnings per share since 2005, and we made important progress on our strategic goals," said Valero chairman and CEO Bill Klesse.

"In the fourth quarter, we had a smooth start-up of our new hydrocracker at the Port Arthur refinery, which was the largest project in Valero's history. We also continued construction on our St Charles hydrocracker, which is scheduled for start-up in the second quarter of 2013.  We believe these projects are perfectly suited for the current environment of strong distillate margins and inexpensive natural gas," he added

Klesse also stated that in the fourth quarter of 2012, Valero replaced all imported light foreign crude oils with cheaper domestic crude oils at its Gulf Coast and Memphis refineries.

“Since we expect US and Canadian crude oils to become increasingly more available, we are pursuing options to process additional volumes of these cost-advantaged crudes throughout our refining system," he said.

For the year ended 31 December 2012, net income fell slightly to $2.08 from $2.09bn in 2011, following impairment losses of $983m after taxes, and severance expenses of $41m after taxes, mainly related to its Aruba refinery. Operating revenues in 2012 rose to $139.3m from $126.0m in 2011.

In September 2012, Valero announced that it plans to convert its Aruba refinery into a refined products terminal, following the company’s suspension of operations at the facility in March 2012.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Franco Capaldo
+44 (0)20 8652 3214

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