PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS -- The Valero refinery complex in Port Arthur, Texas, occupies over six square miles of concrete, pipe and everything it takes to turn Alberta bitumen into things like jet fuel and gasoline.
Currently 6% to 8% of Valero's feedstock comes from Alberta -- and general manager and Valero vice president Greg Gentry is ready for more.
"We actually still have under construction some assets to better utilize Canadian crude, if that ever shows up," Gentry says, pointing to a coker shaped roughly like a gigantic Corona bottle outside his office window.
"We have partnered and committed to space in the Keystone pipeline. We think the crude supply matches the asset that we have in place here.
“It's a typical crude that will replace crude we buy today from either Mexico or Venezuela. We think it's a rateable supply from a very reliable business partner that the United States does a tremendous amount of business with every day," he says.
At the end of the Keystone XL pipeline, Valero dates back to the days it was Gulf Oil -- formed in 1902 after the boom from the nearby Spindletop gusher. Poised on the Gulf Coast where the Neches and Sabine rivers bring water for cooling, Valero refines 300,000 barrels of oil a day; neighbouring Motiva, North America's largest (and the world's third largest) refinery distills 600,000 barrels a day.