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Aruba refinery to be converted to storage terminal
Published on September 5, 2012 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Caribbean News Now contributor

ORANJESTAD, Aruba -- Valero Energy said it will convert its Caribbean oil refinery in Aruba into a storage terminal while it continues seeking a buyer for the plant.

Just last month, Aruban Premier Mike Eman announced that an agreement in principle between the American oil company and the Chinese state-owned company Petrochina for the sale of the Aruba refinery had been reached, subject to Beijing’s approval.

However, Valero is still in talks to sell the Aruba plant but no deal is imminent, company spokesman Bill Day said on Tuesday.

Valero said it will keep the refinery ready for a restart in case it can reach a deal to sell the plant.

Valero in March suspended refining operations at the 235,000-barrel-a-day Aruba facility, having tried for years to sell the plant. Valero bought the Aruba refinery in 2004 for an estimated $465 million and used it to partially refine the heavy, sour crude it received from Venezuela, sending the half-finished product to refineries in other regions, including its own Gulf Coast operations to finish the process.

The Aruba plant has a history of shutdowns. Built in 1929 by Standard Oil, it was shut down in 1985 by successor company Exxon, now Exxon Mobil, only to reopen five years later. Valero bought it in 2004, closed it in 2009 because of challenging economics and then restarted it again in 2011.
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