Eagle Ford shale straining oil refinery capacity

Jan. 30, 2014 at 6:46 AM

SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- A spokesman for Valero Energy Corp. said the company needs to overhaul some of its refineries in Texas to handle output from the Eagle Ford shale reserve.

The Valero refinery in Houston can process 160,000 barrels of oil per day while its Corpus Christi facility can handle 325,000 bpd. The company said it plans to spend $730 million to upgrade the refineries to add a combined 160,000 bpd to capacity.

"We're processing as much light sweet crude as we can at both of those facilities right now," Valero spokesman Bill Day said in an interview published Wednesday by the San Antonio Business Journal. "Because our proximity to the Eagle Ford Shale, we'd like to be processing more."

The Eagle Ford shale area is spread out over southern Texas. The Texas Railroad Commission, the state's energy regulator, said in December the average production rate from January through October 2013 was 659,092 barrels per day. Production from 2011 to 2012 more than doubled.

Valero's spokesman offered no timeline for when the new capacity would be brought online.

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