Operator: Welcome to the Valero Energy Corporation Reports 2012 Fourth Quarter and Annual Earnings Conference Call. My name is Trish, and I'll be your operator for today's call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. Please note that this conference is being recorded.
I will now turn the call over to Ashley Smith. Please go ahead.
Ashley Smith - VP, IR: Thank you, Trish. Good morning, and welcome to our earnings conference call today. With me are Bill Klesse, our Chairman and CEO; Mike Ciskowski, our CFO; Joe Gorder, President and COO; Gene Edwards, our Chief Development Officer; Kim Bowers, President of Retail and several other members of our senior management team.
If you have not received the earnings release and would like a copy, you can find one on our website at valero.com. Also, attached to the earnings release are tables that provide additional financial information on our business segments. If you have any questions after reviewing these tables, please feel free to contact me after the call.
Before we get started, I'd like to direct your attention to the forward-looking statements disclaimer contained in the press release. In summary it says that statements in the press release and on this conference call that state the Company's or management's expectations or predictions of the future are forward-looking statements intended to be covered by the Safe Harbor provisions under federal securities laws. There are many factors that could cause actual results to differ from our expectations, including those we've described in our filings with the SEC.
As noted in the release, we reported fourth quarter 2012 earnings of $1 billion or $1.82 per share. This includes a non-cash asset impairment loss of $37 million after taxes or $0.06 per share which is primarily related to permanently canceled capital projects at certain of our refineries.
This is our highest fourth quarter earnings per share since 2005. For the full year 2012 net income attributable to Valero stockholders was $2.1 billion, or $3.75 per share. Included in these results were non-cash asset impairment losses of $983 million after taxes or $1.77 per share and severance expense of $41 million after-taxes or $0.07 per share mainly related to the shutdown and impairment of the Aruba refinery.
Operating income was $1.06 billion versus operating income of $167 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. The increase in operating income was mainly due to higher refining margins in each of our refining regions. Partially offsetting the operating was a significant decline in the ethanol margins.
Our fourth quarter refining throughput margin was $12.27 per barrel, which is a large increase versus the fourth quarter of 2011 margin, which was $5.46 per barrel. The increase in refining throughput margin was mainly due to wider discounts on medium-sour, heavy-sour and domestic light crude oils. For example, comparing the fourth quarter of 2011 to the fourth quarter of 2012 the Brent less Mars medium-sour discount improved by nearly $3 per barrel, the Brent less Maya heavy-sour discount improved by over $11 per barrel, and the Brent less WTI domestic light discounts improved by nearly $7 per barrel.