Valero Energy Corp. has decided to close the company’s refinery in Aruba

October 4, 2009 by admin
Filed under: Aruba News, Business and Economy, Oil Industry 

Valero Energy Corp. has decided to close the company’s refinery in Aruba indefinitely because of unfavorable market conditions, a Valero spokesman said Wednesday.

The San Antonio-based refiner said in June it would close the Aruba plant for two to three months because the plant wasn’t profitable, and the plant stopped production in mid-July.

“It’s clear now that conditions have not improved any, and we don’t see any significant improvement in the near future,” Valero spokesman Bill Day said. “So the outage will be extended indefinitely.”

Employees at the plant, located on a Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela, were told of Valero’s decision Wednesday.

Several hundred contract workers will be let go over the next two to three weeks, but about 780 Valero employees will keep their jobs, Day said. The employees will perform maintenance and receive training, he said.

The refinery has been losing tens of millions of dollars a month, Day said.

Demand for fuel is in a slump because of the troubled global economy, and the heavy crude oils the Aruba facility can process now are more costly to acquire. Those conditions have slammed the plant’s profitability.

When the plant was shuttered in June, Valero put it in “hot mothball” status, keeping key units powered up so the refinery could be re-started in a relatively short period of time. Now the plant is going to “cold shutdown” mode.

The plant’s status will be reviewed from time to time, “but we’re not setting a timetable for ourselves” to restart it, Day said.

Valero has had the refinery on the auction block since November 2007, but no buyer has emerged.



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