Gasoline advanced on speculation that refinery shutdowns and delayed restarts will threaten to reduce inventory levels.
Futures rose as Chevron Corp. (CVX) said yesterday that a fire- damaged crude unit at its 240,000-barrel-a-day Richmond, California, refinery won’t restart this year. On the East Coast, Delta Air Lines Inc.’s Monroe Energy LLC subsidiary won’t restart the fluid catalytic cracker at its Trainer, Pennsylvania, refinery until next week, a person with direct knowledge of the refinery’s operations said yesterday.
Gasoline for November delivery rose 0.2 cent to $2.9607 a gallon at 1:39 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
East Coast stockpiles sank to near four-year lows as of Sept. 28, according to data from the Energy Department.
The Energy Department will probably report tomorrow that gasoline inventories rose 250,000 barrels last week and stockpiles of distillates fell 1 million barrels, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts in a survey by Bloomberg.
Gasoline shipments to the U.S. are poised to decline as European refineries continue maintenance, according to a Bloomberg survey. Sixteen tankers were booked for the voyage for the two weeks to Oct. 24, the median estimate of seven shipbrokers and traders who specialize in transporting the fuel. That’s three fewer than last week.
Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.2 cent to $3.813 yesterday, according to AAA, the nation’s largest motoring organization. The average retail price in California fell 0.5 cent to $4.666 from a yesterday’s record of $4.671 a gallon, AAA reported. It was the first drop in the state in 12 days.
Heating oil futures gained as gasoil rose 1.8 percent in London, increasing the incentive to ship diesel fuel from the U.S. to Europe.
“Europe continues to draw diesel supplies from the U.S., especially right now when there’s a lot of European refineries undergoing maintenance,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston.
November-delivery heating oil advanced 1.9 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $3.2222 a gallon on the Nymex, the first increase in three days. Prices touched $3.2424, the highest intraday level since Sept. 17.
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