Marathon Petroleum and Valero Energy refineries are expanding to accept more Eagle Ford Shale crude oil. Both companies have expansion plans that will allow greater volumes of oil to flow through the refineries and the companies want Eagle Ford crude because it is easier to refine than the heavy crudes that are imported from South America.
On the back of Marathon Oil’s Eagle Ford Shale acreage acquisition, Marathon Petroleum might stand to benefit the most if refining margins hold.
For Marathon Petroleum, there are some promising developments that could boost future operations in a big way. The company’s Garyville refinery in Louisiana has been performing above expectations. A capacity of 436,000 barrels per day last year to a current output of 464,000 bpd indicates the company’s appetite for expansion. However, a higher capacity doesn’t seem to have whetted its appetite.
In fact, Marathon has already received the approval from state regulators to increase the refinery’s overall capacity to 545,000 bpd. This is very promising. Distillate exports from this refinery have gone up in the second quarter to 70,000 bpd from 65,000 bpd earlier.
Additionally, with the advent of shale plays, sweet crude processing should see growth. The company’s Texas refinery is, in fact, looking to increase crude oil processing from the Eagle Ford shale play. This region will witness a significant ramp up in production by next year, when most upstream companies will have their wells flowing.
Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO ) has already ramped up its Eagle Ford crude inputs, with its Corpus Christi refinery processing 25,000 bpd. It is also planning to increase its Three Rivers refinery capacity from 40,000 bpd to 60,000 bpd. Valero seems to have a head start here. Marathon, which has plans to increase its sweet crude intake at its Texas City refinery, should stand to benefit.
Read the full news release at fool.com