Valero Energy Earnings Call Nuggets: Gulf Coast Gross Margin and the Logistics Capital

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Valero Energy Corporation (NYSE:VLO) recently reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Gulf Coast Gross Margin

Jeff Dietert – Simmons & Co.: You guys had a strong quarter throughput for better than expected cash operating costs lower, but I wanted to focus on gross margin in the Gulf Coast. I assumed that the feedstock advantage is probably flow through and contributed a very strong margin capture, could you talk about any one-time events or talk about how feedstocks changes could be sustainable in continuing strong margin capture? Any step function change in U.S. crude or Canadian crude influenced in the fourth quarter?

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Joe Gorder – President and Chief Operating Officer: Jeff, this is Joe. We did well in the Gulf Coast. If you look at the slate that we ran, we ran more heavy-sour and medium-sours in the fourth quarter than we did in the third quarter. Ashley mentioned during his comments what those discounts look like and they were very strong. We also ran a lot more resid, well we ran a bit more resid in the quarter, but we ran resid with better pricing than we had in the third quarter and lot of that had to do with the fact that the Libyan production was back on stream. So, basically the guys did just a very good job of optimizing the crude and feedstock slate into the plants. Actually in the quarter, we continued to push around more domestic light sweet crude which we were up over I think 700,000 barrels a day, so all-in, if you look at the crude slate we had this kind of crudes coming in, in really every form.

Jeff Dietert – Simmons & Co.: How do you see your feedstock changing with the addition of Seaway having started up an incremental 250 and the Permian pipes coming on like March or April, an incremental rail coming into the market, how do you see those benefiting you in the first quarter and second quarter going forward?

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