Gasoline Fluctuates as Pump Prices Fall, Refinery Units Restart

Gasoline fluctuated on speculation declining pump prices may stoke demand even as refinery unit restarts indicate that U.S. stockpiles will rise.

Futures swung between gains and losses as retail prices fell to the lowest in more than two months. Valero Energy Corp. (VLO) and Citgo Petroleum Corp. are starting units following maintenance at the McKee and Corpus Christi, Texas, refineries. Futures sank on Oct. 19 to the lowest since July 2.

“After the big selloff on Friday, we did some technical damage,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “But the big drop in retail gasoline prices probably signals plenty of supply moving forward.”

Gasoline for November delivery rose 0.44 cent to $2.707 a gallon at 9:31 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after fluctuating between $2.6825 and $2.72. Prices fell 6.8 percent last week, the third consecutive weekly decline.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA plans to start a fluid catalytic cracker at its Pasadena, Texas, refinery this week, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation.

“We should see a big uptick in refinery runs and in supply,” Flynn said.

U.S. gasoline stockpiles rose 1.72 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 12, according to Energy Department data, after falling 10 of the prior 11 weeks.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, declined 1.1 cents to $3.665 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA, the nation’s largest motoring organization. That’s the 11th consecutive day prices sank, and the lowest level since Aug. 8.

November-delivery heating oil gained 0.62 cent to $3.1407 a gallon on the exchange. Prices declined 2.8 percent last week.

To contact the reporter on this story: Barbara J Powell in Dallas at bpowell4@bloomberg.net

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

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