California Gasoline at Record High on Exxon Upset, Pipeline Shut

Spot gasoline in California advanced to a record against futures after Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)’s Torrance refinery lost power and Chevron Corp. (CVX) shut an oil pipeline that delivers crude to Bay Area refiners.

The 150,000-barrel-a-day Torrance plant is scheduled to flare gases through today, a filing with the South Coast Air Quality Management District showed.

No one was injured by the “external power interruption” at about 7:30 a.m. local time, “and refinery personnel are assessing the situation,” Gesuina Paras, an Exxon spokeswoman in Torrance, said by e-mail.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles jumped 30 cents to 75 cents a gallon above gasoline futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:16 p.m. East Coast time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the fuel’s highest premium since at least November 2007, when Bloomberg began pricing there.

Carbob in San Francisco gained 20 cents to 72 cents a gallon over futures, also its highest level since at least 2007.

Chevron shut the Kettleman-Los Medanos, or KLM, pipeline that carries crude from Kern County to Northern California refineries operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), Tesoro Corp. (TSO) and Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) after detecting elevated levels of organic chloride in the oil. The company plans to flush the 85,000- barrel-a-day line before returning it to service, Gareth Johnstone, a spokesman at Chevron headquarters in San Ramon, California, said by e-mail late Sept. 28.

Johnstone said in an e-mail today that the company is “continuing to assess the situation.”

Phillips Work

Phillips 66 (PSX) is performing planned work at the San Francisco refinery complex, which includes plants in Rodeo and Arroyo Grande, California, Rich Johnson, a spokesman at the company’s headquarters in Houston, said by e-mail. The 76,000-barrel-a-day Rodeo plant was scheduled to shut a hydrocracker for a turnaround, a person with knowledge of the work said Aug. 9.

The company is also expected to shut a hydrocracker at the 139,000-barrel-a-day Los Angeles refinery around Oct. 5 for a turnaround that may last as many as six weeks, a person with knowledge of the schedule said Sept. 6.

California-grade, or CARB, diesel in Los Angeles rose 1 cent to 13.25 cents a gallon above heating oil futures on the Nymex. The fuel in San Francisco was unchanged at a premium of 15 cents a gallon versus futures.

Conventional, 87-octane gasoline in Portland, Oregon, increased 7.5 cents to 50 cents a gallon against gasoline futures, the highest level since May. Low-sulfur diesel in Portland increased 1.5 cents to 4 cents a gallon over heating oil futures.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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