Jan 26 (Reuters) – Valero Energy Corp (VLO.N) zoomed passed Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit on Thursday, wrapping up the refiner’s best year on record, boosted by higher demand for fuel and healthy refining margins as crude supplies remained tight.
U.S. refineries operated at record levels last year, aided by a quick recovery in domestic sales and strong exports demand following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Valero refineries operated at 97% capacity utilization rate in the fourth quarter, the highest since 2018.
San Antonio, Texas-based company’s refining margins for the October-December quarter more than doubled to $6.3 billion from a year earlier.
U.S. refiners last year drew criticism from President Joe Biden, who said refiners were putting profits ahead of consumers and urged them to expand capacity.
Valero Energy, the second-largest U.S. refiner by capacity, said quarterly refining throughput volumes averaged 3.04 million barrels per day (bpd), slightly above the year-ago quarter.
The company also added that its DGD project adjacent to the Port Arthur refinery in Texas, with a production capacity of 470 million gallons per year of renewable diesel, was commissioned and started operations in the fourth quarter.
Valero reported adjusted net income of $3.2 billion, or $8.45 per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $7.37 per share, according to Refinitiv data.