Valero’s profit triples in third quarter

Valero Energy Corp. easily beat analysts’ estimates in the third quarter, as its earnings jumped to $1.1 billion, or $2 a share, compared to net income of $312 million, or 57 cents a share, for the same period a year ago.

Analysts had estimated that San Antonio-based Valero would earn $1.57 a share in the quarter.

Valero, North America’s largest refiner, attributed the results to wider discounts for crude oils relative to the international benchmark crude, stronger gasoline margins in most regions and more crude being processed at its refineries.

“Our strong performance during the quarter reflects the capabilities of our team and our assets to capitalize on market opportunities,” CEO Joe Gorder said. “Our ability to do so has been enhanced by the capital invested in our refineries and logistics systems.”

Gorder added that Valero continued to build on its capital investments in the quarter, which enabled the company to process more North American crude oil. The company’s plants processed an average of 2.8 million barrels a day, an increase of 42,000 barrels a day compared with the same period a year ago.

Valero’s refineries operated at 98 percent throughput capacity utilization in the third quarter of 2014.