U.S. Gulf Coast fuels weakened on speculation the restart of a crude unit at Motiva Enterprises LLC’s Port Arthur, Texas, refinery will add to regional supplies.
Motiva is restarting the 325,000-barrel-a-day crude unit at its Port Arthur facility after finishing pipe repairs, two people familiar with operations said. The pipestill is expected to be processing as much as 200,000 barrels a day by the end of the weekend, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.
The unit will more than double the plant’s crude-processing capacity, adding to gasoline and distillate production along the U.S. Gulf Coast, where inventories of those products grew by a combined 4.66 million barrels last week, government data show.
Refiners in PADD 3 processed 7.76 million barrels a day of crude and other feedstocks, the highest seasonal level in weekly U.S. Energy Information Administration data back to 1990.
Refinery operations may remain at a high level as Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD:US) and Enbridge Inc.’s Seaway pipeline carries less-expensive oil from the U.S. Midwest to plants along the coast.
Conventional gasoline on the Gulf Coast retreated 1.25 cents to 16.5 cents below futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11:50 a.m., a third consecutive decline. Reformulated gasoline slipped 0.75 cent to a 16-cent discount, while ultra-low-sulfur diesel in the region fell 0.13 cent to trade at parity with heating oil futures.
“Seaway is open, Motiva is back up and running, and margins will be good enough for refiners to produce more,” Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks & Opinions, LLC, said in a phone interview from Houston. “There won’t be a supply issue with distillates.”
Stockpiles of distillates, including diesel fuel and heating oil, jumped 2.29 million barrels to 39.3 million in PADD 3, the highest level since Aug. 24, according to the EIA, a division of the Energy Department. Inventories of gasoline gained 2.38 million barrels to 83.8 million last week.
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