Bloomberg News

San Francisco Gasoline Drops After Chevron Said to Start Units

November 29, 2011

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- California-blend gasoline in San Francisco fell to its lowest level against futures since August after Chevron Corp. was said start a crude unit at the Richmond oil refinery and a cracking unit at the El Segundo plant.

Carbob in San Francisco dropped 3.5 cents to a discount of 1 cent a gallon versus gasoline futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:07 p.m. East Coast time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s the first time since Aug. 16 that the fuel traded at a discount in San Francisco.

Chevron was expected to start a fluid catalytic cracker at the El Segundo refinery today that was shut in October for repairs, a person with direct knowledge of the work said Nov. 21. The San Ramon, California-based company also restored service to a crude unit at the Richmond refinery that was shut Nov. 14 after a fire, two people familiar with the plant’s operations said.

“We continue to supply products to our customers without interruption,” Melissa Ritchie, a Chevron spokeswoman based at the Richmond refinery, said in an e-mail yesterday.

Carbob in Los Angeles dropped 4 cents, narrowing its premium to 1 cent against futures. That’s the lowest level for the fuel since Nov. 15.

California-blend diesel in Los Angeles fell 1.25 cents to reach parity with heating oil futures traded on the Nymex. The same fuel in San Francisco weakened 1.75 cents, also to trade even with futures.

Martinez Shutdown

San Antonio-based Tesoro Corp. shut a crude distillation unit at the Martinez refinery in Northern California after a naphtha leak, Tina Barbee, a Tesoro spokeswoman based at the company’s headquarters, said in an e-mail yesterday.

The refinery reported “a liquid spill” from the crude unit, known as the “50 Unit,” at about 7:15 a.m. local time yesterday, Matt Kaufmann, a hazardous materials specialist for Contra Costa County, said in a telephone interview today.

The 50 Unit was scheduled for a five-week maintenance turnaround beginning in January, a person familiar with the plant’s operations said Oct. 5. Barbee declined to comment today, citing company policy, on whether the planned work will be conducted now while the unit is down.

Conventional, 87-octane gasoline in Portland, Oregon, was unchanged at a discount of 3.75 cents to futures, holding at the fuel’s lowest level since Aug. 5.

--Editors: David Marino, Bill Banker

To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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