(Adds view on recovery timing)
HOUSTON, July 30 (Reuters) - Independent U.S. refiner Valero Energy Corp plans to operate its 15 refineries at up to 79% of their combined total throughput capacity of 3.15 million barrels per day (bpd) in the third quarter of 2020, the company said on Thursday.
Valero, the second largest U.S. refiner, said its eight Gulf Coast refineries will operate in a range between 1.4 million and 1.45 million bpd during the third quarter, as demand remains reduced because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the company said.
The company expects demand will increase so that inventories will match the pre-pandemic five-year average sometime in 2021, Valero President Lane Riggs said.
"A normalized world looks like the inventories are basically back into the five-year band," Riggs said during a conference call with analysts to discuss Valero's second-quarter results. "That's how we sort of look at it. And yes, we believe some time next year, we should be back into that sort of market." (Reporting by Erwin Seba Editing by Chris Reese and Paul Simao)