Valero Energy Corp. announced Monday that it will convert its shuttered oil refinery on the southern Caribbean island of Aruba into a fuel storage facility.
The San Antonio, Texas-based company suspended refining operations in March at the Aruba refinery, which processed heavy, sour crude and once had a capacity of about 275,000 barrels a day.
It said it stopped producing gasoline and other fuels at the site due to high oil prices and “unfavourable refinery economics.”
But on Monday, Valero announced that it had decided to reorganise the unprofitable site into a storage terminal on the Dutch Caribbean island of just over 100,000 inhabitants.
For years, Valero has been trying unsuccessfully to sell the Aruba refinery, which the company says is still ready to re-start if a buyer can be found.
Valero Chairman and CEO Bill Klesse said Aruba’s deep-water and smaller berths will give the terminal flexibility to load the biggest crude freighters.
“We believe that Aruba has the assets to compete as a world-scale crude and refined products terminal,” Klesse said in a statement.
The company’s local subsidiary has notified employees that it will require a significantly smaller workforce. The reorganisation and workforce reduction is expected to be completed before the end of the year.