Bloomberg News

Gulf Gasoline Strengthens With Chavez’s Biggest Refinery Shut

August 29, 2012

U.S. Gulf Coast gasoline strengthened as Venezuela conducts an inspection of its biggest refinery after an explosion Aug. 25 and fire that was extinguished yesterday.

State-owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA continues to export oil and petroleum products stored at the Amuay refinery’s dock and sees no disruption to its internal or external shipping obligations, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told reporters yesterday in Falcon state near the plant. The plant, which has the capacity to process 645,000 barrels a day, is part of the Paraguana complex 240 miles west of Caracas.

The premium for conventional, 87-octane gasoline in the Gulf Coast rose 1.5 cents to 14 cents a gallon versus October futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 12:02 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Prompt delivery slipped 0.04 cent to $3.0579 a gallon.

The differential for ultra-low-sulfur diesel at the hub narrowed 0.2 cent to 9.75 cents a gallon over Nymex heating oil futures. It’s the second straight drop for the fuel.

Production at Amuay may restart in two to three days, Jesus Luongo, head of the Paraguana refining complex said on state television yesterday.

Venezuelan product imports from the U.S. have increased, nearly doubling in the first five months of 2012 to 38,000 barrels a day from 23,000 in the year earlier period, according to the EIA.

The explosion on Aug. 25 killed 48 people. President Hugo Chavez, who faces elections in October, declared three days of mourning and ordered an investigation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Paul Burkhardt in New York at pburkhardt@bloomberg.net.

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


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