Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Valero sets tank car buy for crude processing

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Valero Energy Corp., billed as the world's largest independent refiner, plans to purchase 2,000 tank cars to increase shipment of crude oil to inland U.S. locations.

The company also plans to invest up to $280 million in buildgn a crude oil "topper," or specialized skimming device at its Houston refinery, which the railcars would serve. Valero hopes for delivery of the 2000 railcars this year. The supplier was not specified in a Bloomberg report.

The Houston plant already can process mostly light-sweet crude, but the crude produced by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the prolific Eagle Ford shale formation in south Texas is even lighter, Valero spokesman Bill Day said. "This is more like an expansion at the Houston refinery, which will enable us to process even more Eagle Ford there," he said.

San Antonio, Tex.-based Valero hopes to begin operating its topper in early 2015.

Phillips 66 last June said it planned to buy 2,000 railcars to increase access to inland crude supplies. Phillips also anticipates receiving its cars this year.