Louis-Marie Beaulieu, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Groupe Desgagnés and Ross R. Bayus, President of Valero’s Canadian Operations are pleased to announce the signing of a landmark agreement. The two companies have formed a joint venture, Transport Maritime Saint-Laurent inc. that has acquired two Panamax-class ships. These ships will serve to transport, among others, crude oil from Valero’s Montreal East Terminal to its refinery in Lévis, on the south shore of Quebec City.

“That a Quebec company, a real homegrown business, becomes a key player in supplying crude oil to the Jean Gaulin refinery is absolutely tremendous – not just for Desgagnés, but also for the whole community, as this will translate into substantial economic benefits,” Mr. Beaulieu stated.

As for Mr. Bayus, he said: “This partnership is very important for us. Along with the deliveries by ship, once the Canadian energy company Enbridge completes its 9B pipeline flow reversal project to Montreal, we will be able to supply 100 percent high quality North American light crude to our Jean Gaulin refinery in Lévis instead of bringing in crude from overseas. This will allow us to take full advantage of our Montreal East terminal, the largest in Canada. Investments of more than $180 million are underway to adapt our oil handling and storage facilities in Montreal East and our infrastructures at the refinery in Lévis, which will create close to 200 jobs during the construction phase.”

Operated by Desgagnés, these modern sister ships that were built in 2007 will be adapted to our needs over the coming months. To this effect, they will have equipment providing excellent manoeuvrability and safety at sea as well as safe docking. The ships, with their length of 228.50 meters and breadth of 32.24 meters, have a capacity exceeding 500,000 barrels (80,000 m³), although the volumes carried during voyages between Montreal and Lévis will be limited to some 350,000 barrels (56,000 m³), depending on the St. Lawrence River water levels and in accordance with safe navigation margins.

Mr. Beaulieu noted that, “In the marine sector alone, this project will create over 100 direct, top-quality, well-paid and permanent jobs. And that’s without counting increased demand for related marine services, such as piloting and tugging, which – on top of numerous indirect jobs – will generate dozens of quasi-direct jobs.”

Mr. Bayus concluded by noting that, “Desgagnés is a Quebec company with which we’ve had a close business relationship for some 20 years. So we’re delighted to work with them once again on a project of such highly strategic importance for our company and for all of Quebec, and for our supply to Eastern Canada.”