Valero reports Q3 loss for ethanol, profit for renewable diesel

By Erin Voegele | October 24, 2019

Valero Energy Corp. released third quarter financial results on Oct. 24, reporting a loss for its ethanol segment, but a profitable quarter for renewable diesel. The company also discussed plans to develop new renewable diesel production capacity.  

Valero’s ethanol segment reported a $43 million operating loss for the third quarter, or an adjusted loss of 12 cents per gallon, compared to $21 million of operating income for the same period of 2018, or an adjusted operating income of 6 cents per gallon. The decrease in operating income was primarily attributed to higher corn prices. The company said ethanol production volumes averaged 4.01 million gallons per day during the three-month period, down slightly from approximately 4.07 million gallons per day for the same period of last year. Moving into the fourth quarter, Valero expects the ethanol segment to produce 4.3 million gallons per day.

The company’s renewable diesel segment reported $65 million of operating income for the third quarter, compared to a $5 million operating loss for the same period of 2018. Renewable diesel sales volumes averaged 638,000 gallons per day during the third quarter, up 387,000 gallons per day when compared to the same quarter of last year. The company noted that third quarter 2018 operating results and sales volumes were impacted by planned downtime at the Diamond Green Diesel plant that occurred as part of an expansion project. For the full year 2019 Valero said it expects renewable diesel sales volumes to average be 750,000 per day.

During an earnings call, Joe Gorder, president and CEO of Valero, noted that in September the company’s Diamond Green Diesel joint venture announced an advanced engineering and development cost review for a potential new renewable diesel plant at Valero’s refinery in Port Arthur, Texas. “If the project is approved, construction could begin in 2021 with operations expected to commence in 2024, he said. “This would result in Diamond Green Diesel production capacity increasing to over 1.1 billion gallons annually.”

Valero currently owns 14 ethanol plants with a combined capacity of 1.73 billion gallons per year, one renewable diesel plant that is expanding capacity to 675 MMgy, and 15 petroleum refineries with a combined throughput capacity of 3.1 million barrels per day.

Overall, the company reported net income attributable to Valero stockholders of $609 million, or $1.48 per share, for the third quarter of 219, compared to $859 million, or $2.01 per share, for the same period of last year.