Spot gasoline in the U.S. Northwest slipped against futures after BP Plc (BP/)’s Cherry Point refinery in Washington was said to be planning the startup of a crude unit by early next week.
BP, based in London, was starting equipment at the 234,000- barrel-a-day refinery on May 8 after finishing three months of maintenance when an upset at the crude unit forced it shut again, said two people, who declined to be identified because the information isn’t public. The malfunction set back the company’s startup plan by about four days, and the crude unit is now scheduled to return May 15, one person said.
Conventional, 87-octane gasoline in Portland, Oregon, rose 10 cents earlier to 71.5 cents a gallon above futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange after BP reported the crude unit upset. The fuel’s premium then narrowed four cents to 67.5 cents above futures at 4:47 p.m. East Coast time on the planned startup next week.
Scott Dean, a BP spokesman in Warrenville, Illinois, didn’t immediately respond to a telephone call requesting comment on the unit’s startup.
California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles jumped 8.5 cents to a premium of 56.5 cents a gallon against futures on refinery work tightening supply in the market. That’s the highest level since October 2008 and the largest premium for this time of year since Bloomberg began keeping records in November 2007.
Phillips 66 (COP:US), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Tesoro Corp. (TSO:US) are performing work on units at three out of the five refineries in the San Francisco area. California gasoline inventories dropped 3 percent in the week ended May 4, the state Energy Commission said yesterday. Non-Carbob supplies, for use outside the state, tumbled for the fourth straight week to 977,000 barrels.
Gasoline supplies on the U.S. West Coast, known as the PADD 5 region, dropped last week to the lowest level since December 2008 and the smallest amount for this time of year in at least 10 years, Energy Department data showed.
San Francisco Carbob was unchanged at a 62-cent-a-gallon premium versus futures, the highest level since Bloomberg began compiling fuel prices there on Nov. 27, 2007. The fuel was trading as high as 67 cents a gallon above futures earlier following the upset at the Cherry Point plant.
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