By BEN LEFEBVRE
Valero Energy will spend up to $280 million to increase the amount of West Texas crude oil its Houston refinery can process, the company said Wednesday.
The move by Valero, the world's largest independent refiner, illustrates how the US crude-oil production boom is displacing crude-oil imports.
Advances in drilling methods has unlocked oil and natural gas from shale formations once thought too expensive to develop, and the resulting crude-oil production has helped refiners slash their operational costs.
Valero said by 2015 it will complete the project to add a 90,000 bpd "crude topper" to the refinery.
The equipment upgrade "will enhance the plant's ability to process light-sweet crude like Eagle Ford into transportation fuels," Valero spokesman Bill Day said.
Meanwhile, San Antonio-based Valero said it will buy 2,000 additional rail cars to carry crude oil from disparate US oil fields to the company's refineries.
The purchase will bring Valero's total rail fleet to 9,000 rail cars.
Dow Jones Newswires