Valero Rises to the Top

At a Glance: Valero Energy Corp.

Valero operates 16 refineries and seven ethanol plants stretching from California to Canada to the Caribbean. The San Antonio-based operator generated more than $119 billion in revenues in 2008 with total assets of $34.3 billion. Other company highlights include:
•Number of Employees: Approximately 22,000
•Refining Throughput Capacity: 3.1 million barrels per day
•Number of Retail and Wholesale Sites: Approximately 5,800
•Number of Wholesale Markets: Valero markets products in 44 U.S. states, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean region.
•For the ninth year, Valero in 2008 ranked among the nation’s best employers on Fortune magazine’s listing of the 100 Best Companies to Work For.
•Valero has ranked No. 5 among petroleum refining companies on Fortune magazine’s listing of America’s Most Admired Companies and No. 7 in that same category of Fortune’s Global Most Admired Companies

Valero Energy Corp.’s rapid ascent in the convenience store industry began in earnest in 2000 when the company was the winning bidder for Exxon’s Benicia refinery in California, along with a network of retail sites and supply contracts in the San Francisco Bay Area. Exxon was forced to sell the assets as terms of its acquisition of Mobil Oil Co.

But acquiring those assets wasn’t nearly enough; it was a springboard for a much bigger refining/marketing strategy. Under the watchful eye of former President and CEO Bill Greehey, the architect behind the company’s strong growth, Valero pushed forward acquiring Ultramar Diamond Shamrock in 2001 and a half dozen more refineries over the next five years, including the acquisition of Premcor Inc. in 2005. Along the way, the company developed the Valero retail brand, acquired a proprietary credit card and fleet services network, instituted its own gift cards and created a line of private label products.

Also in 2005, Valero opened its 132,000-square-foot Retail Distribution Center (RDC) north of San Antonio that warehouses 2,500 different items to supply the chain’s 600 Texas-based stores. This facility has improved the Valero retail network’s efficiency and operational flexibility in serving its Texas stores, as well as providing the capability to offer a variety of new products to consumers.

Today, Valero is North America’s largest independent petroleum refiner and marketer with 16 refineries and more than 5,800 branded stores in the U.S. and Canada. All of these efforts combined to make Valero CSD’s 2006 Convenience Store Chain of the Year.

Rise of a Retailer
In the retail arena, Gary Arthur, Valero’s senior vice president of retail and specialty products marketing, attributed Valero’s success to the employees.

“We have worked hard to give our employees best-in-class compensation and benefits, and they’ve responded by significantly reducing turnover, improving customer service and increasing their community involvement,” Arthur said. “Our employees have also helped bring about many improvements in our retail network over the past few years. The new Valero image and store offerings have been well-received by our customers. We’ve introduced new merchandise like our private-label Fresh Choices sodas, bottled water, chips, sandwiches and salads, and developed enhanced coffee, fountain drink, foodservice and other programs.”

In terms of site count and geographic expansion, Valero’s most dramatic growth has occurred in its branded wholesale network. Its distinctive teal-and-yellow signs have gone up at stations stretching from California to the Carolinas.


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