Bloomberg News

Gasoline in U.S. Northwest Tumbles to Month-Low on Plant Startup

June 04, 2012

Spot gasoline in Portland, Oregon, tumbled to the lowest level against futures in more than a month after BP Plc (BP/) brought the Cherry Point oil refinery in Washington to normal rates following a three-month shutdown.

BP’s 266,000-barrel-a-day plant increased operating rates last week, a person familiar with operations at the plant said May 29. BP, based in London, shut the refinery for repairs after a fire broke out Feb. 17.

Conventional, 87-octane gasoline in Portland, Oregon, a benchmark for the U.S. Northwest, dropped 16 cents to 9 cents a gallon above gasoline futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:39 p.m. East Coast time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the fuel’s fourth straight day of declines and its lowest premium since April 24.

Low-sulfur diesel in Portland slipped 1 cent to an 11-cent- a-gallon premium over Nymex heating oil futures.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles was unchanged at a 2.5-cent premium to gasoline futures. A state Energy Commission report released May 30 showed Carbob inventories rose 12 percent, or 550,000 barrels, to 5.13 million in the week ended May 25.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM:US) is shutting some units at the Torrance oil refinery in Southern California for “several weeks” of planned work, Gesuina Paras, a company spokeswoman at the plant, said in an e-mailed statement. The 150,000-barrel-a-day plant shut a hydrogen unit and will also be performing work on a coker and a pretreater, she said.

Exxon Plant

“Although we anticipate impact to production, Exxon Mobil expects to be able to meet its contractual commitments,” Paras said.

San Francisco Carbob climbed 0.5 cent to 4 cents a gallon above gasoline futures.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) reported a coker shutdown at the 158,000-barrel-a-day Martinez refinery in Northern California May 30, according to a filing with Contra Costa County regulators. Emily Oberton, a company spokeswoman in Houston, didn’t immediately respond an e-mailed request for comment on the shutdown.

Tesoro Corp. (TSO:US) also reported a “small fire” outside the acid plant at the 170,000-barrel-a-day Golden Eagle refinery near Martinez, California, May 30, a separate county filing shows. Tina Barbee, a spokeswoman at the company’s headquarters in San Antonio, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the incident.

Rodeo Refinery

Phillips 66 (PSX:US) finished planned maintenance at the San Francisco complex, consisting of the 76,000-barrel-a-day Rodeo refinery in Northern California and the 44,000-barrel-a-day Santa Maria plant that delivers feedstock to Rodeo, Rich Johnson, a spokesman at the company’s headquarters in Houston, said in an e-mail.

The Rodeo refinery was starting a hydrocracker May 24 following about four weeks of planned work, two people with direct knowledge of the work said. The unit was shut in April for repairs on exchanger bundles, they said.

CARB diesel in Los Angeles fell 0.87 cent to a premium of 4.63 cents a gallon versus heating oil futures. The same fuel in San Francisco was unchanged at a 6-cent premium.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at ldoan6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net


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