Crude Futures Decline as Mideast Concern Eases: Oil Products

Crude oil declined for the second time in three days on reports that Libya is exporting crude oil and on Saudi Arabia’s offer to replace any lost production from the North African country. Heating oil was steady near a 28- month high, gasoline declined, and ethanol gained for the fourth straight day to extend its 31-month high.

Crude Oil

Crude oil for April delivery dropped 91 cents, or 0.9 percent, to settle at $96.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The front-month contract gained 14 percent last week, the most since February 2009.

Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News estimated that February production by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries fell 1 percent to 29.11 million barrels a day.

Gasoline

Gasoline for March delivery fell 0.99 cent, or 0.4 percent, to expire at $2.7296 a gallon on the Nymex. The April contract dropped 1.59 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $2.8927 a gallon. The spread between the two front-month contracts averaged 14.6 cents in February. The spread typically widens in February as refiners prepare to switch to making higher-value summer grade gasoline.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, advanced 1.4 cents to $3.368 a gallon yesterday, AAA said on its website.

Heating Oil

Heating oil for March delivery declined 0.51 cent to expire at $2.9258 a gallon on the Nymex. Heating oil has added 48 percent in the past year. The April contract dropped 0.66 cent to $2.9389 a gallon.

Ethanol

Denatured ethanol for March delivery gained 4.8 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $2.592 a gallon on the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest settlement price since July 15, 2008. Ethanol has gained 51 percent in the past year.

Refineries and Transport

Marathon Oil Corp. has started planned work at its Canton refinery in Ohio, said Shane Pochard, a company spokesman. Pochard declined to comment on the work’s duration or scope.

Alon USA Energy Inc. reported emissions from a boiler at its Big Spring refinery in Texas, according to a filing with state regulators.

United Refining Co. will start planned work at its 70,000- barrel-a-day Warren refinery in Pennsylvania on March 28, Chief Executive Officer John Catsimatidis said in an e-mail. The work is scheduled to last 24 days, he said.

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

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