Above: Valero’s Aruba refinery
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Valero has notified employees at its Aruba refinery that it will be reducing operations and reorganizing the site into a refined products terminal, the company’s Aruba subsidiary announced Monday.
The refinery suspended operations in March, although it had been maintained in a state that would allow a restart.
“We believe that Aruba has the assets to compete as a world-scale crude and refined products terminal,” Valero Chairman and CEO Bill Klesse said in a statement. “With both deepwater berths and smaller berths, the terminal will have the flexibility to load the very largest crude ships.”
The news follows the shuttering of another high-profile refinery, St Croix’s HOVENSA, earlier this year. The US Virgin Islands has signaled a desire to reopen that plant, which has been pegged by owner HESS as an oil storage terminal.
“Aruba’s proximity to growing markets and its business-friendly political environment make it an ideal location for our new terminal operations,” Klesse said.
The company said that in the terminal operations mode “Valero will continue to be a significant employer in Aruba, and will continue to invest in Aruba with facility improvements and dock and tankage upgrades.”
Terminalling activities will mean a downsized workforce, however, with job cuts to be completed before the end of this year, although that could change depending on the situation, Klesse said.
“We will continue to work with Prime Minister Eman and his government in this effort,” Klesse said. “Our discussions with interested parties, including those facilitated by the government of Aruba, will continue, and if successful, may result in the suspension of the workforce reduction.”
Prior to the suspension of operations, Valero’s Aruba facility was a 235,000-barrel-per-day refinery.