Valero shuts down DE refinery

    Valero Energy is closing its Delaware City refinery for good due to financial losses, putting about 550 people out of work.

    Valero Energy is closing its Delaware City refinery for good due to financial losses, putting about 550 people out of work.

    Valero officials cite poor economic conditions paired with significant capital spending requirements and high operating costs as reasons for the closure.

    “The decision to permanently close the Delaware City refinery was a very difficult one,” said Valero Chairman and CEO Bill Klesse in a written statement. “We have spent the last year diligently trying to avoid this situation, and I have worked closely with Gov. Markell in an effort to find a different outcome. Earlier this fall, we shut down the gasifier and coking operations in an attempt to improve reliability and financial performance, but the refinery’s profitability did not improve enough. Additionally, we have sought a buyer for the refinery, but feasible opportunities have not materialized. At this point, we have exhausted all viable options.”

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    Valero started informing employees of the decision today and is negotiating with union officials at the plant to determine severance terms.  Valero will begin the process of shutting down the plant, which had been producing 210,000 barrels per day, immediately.  It expects closing the refinery will save the company approximately 450 million dollars next year.

    Governor Jack Markell says the state will move quickly to address the closure.  He’s directed the Departments of Labor and Health and Social Services to assist workers effected by putting together rapid response teams similar to the ones used earlier this year when the GM Boxwood Road plant closed.

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    “We need to help those hundreds of dedicated workers put their time and talents to work in a way that helps them and their families.” said Markell.

    Governor Markell is also asking the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to identify any environmental issues at the facility and work with Valero to catalogue issues the company has responsibility to resolve.

    “To protect the health and safety of everyone who lives near the facility, we need to ensure accountability for environmental issues that come from closing a refinery, and we will,” Markell said.

    DNREC secretary Collin O’Mara has assembled a team of environmental scientists and engineers to over see the shutdown.

    “We have been working with the refinery on issues associated with a planned maintenance shutdown of the entire refinery for weeks  and are prepared for it.” said O’Mara.  “The orderly shutdown of  the equipment has already begun with the shutdown in October of one of the refinery’s major processing units.  the remaining units have been operating at reduced rates and will be taken offline in a manner portective of health, safety and the environment.”

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