Valero expanding Houston refinery for Eagle Ford crude

Valero plans to expand its Houston refinery to process more Eagle Ford crude, in a $220 million to $280 million project.

The world’s largest independent refiner also expects to buy 2,000 railcars to compensate for a shortage of pipelines transporting the nation’s rapidly growing crude supply.

Leaders of San Antoino-based Valero announced the Gulf Coast ramp-up at a recent investor presentation, saying the company would add a crude oil topper at the Houston refinery. In early stages of the refining process, a topper separates crude into parts that will be made into various fuels.

Reuters said the topper will allow the plant to process more of the Eagle Ford’s light crude to maximize production of gasoline and diesel.