COVID-19: The refinery of Lévis has never ceased to produce in spite of the crisis

COVID-19: La raffinerie de Lévis n’a jamais cessé de produire malgré la crise

The distributor is the most important of petroleum products in Québec, énergie Valero, has never ceased its production and does not always stop at the refinery Jean-Gaulin de Lévis, despite the drop in drastic demand.

Since the beginning of the health crisis, the company has obviously been forced to slow down its refining operations to adjust to the reduced demand. “You have to be hyper-reactive in a refinery. The demand and production are analyzed the day-to-day and hour-to-hour,” says Marina Binotto, director of public and government affairs.

Despite the collapse of oil prices, and even if she has to deal with issues of storage in Lévis and Montreal, Energy Valero said had never considered for one moment the possibility of a complete cessation of activities.

“This is really not in the plans. We do not envisage at all. We try to stabilize our fuel tanks, and there are still commands that are generated. We provides 70 % of the finished products to the Quebec and we are part of a large family, Valero, so the house-mother takes also decisions on the production. It is extremely complex,” says Mrs. Binotto in an interview.

Since mid-march, the demand for aviation fuel has dropped by 90 %, for the essence of 60 %, while the sales of diesel have dropped about 25-30 %. “This is an average and these are numbers which vary a little from one day to the other.” With the déconfinement progressive, Valero said to have been a slight increase in demand in the last few days. “Yes, we see a little bit of movement”.

The work carried over in 2021

Ironically, before the crisis, Valero had already planned a major stop its refinery to conduct a maintenance program valued at$ 130 Million. However, it has been forced to postpone the work and preferred to focus on short-term crisis management, although it would have been able to coincide a stop of production with the decline in global demand.

“The priority for us is the health and safety of our workers. This is not a trivial matter. It was roughly 1000 on the entire site. As the crisis progressed, it took a lot of energy to implement new measures. It was reasonable and we decided to make what is considered to be critical and then we will see the work in 2021,” said Binotto.

No layoff

Energy Valero has made no layoffs since the beginning of the crisis in Quebec and does not always do so. No cases of COVID-19 has been identified among the staff of the company.

About 130 employees have been invited to be a telework since the beginning of the crisis. They will begin gradually to return to the office beginning of next week.

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