Gasoline Advances to Three-Week High on U.S. Refinery Repairs

Gasoline jumped to a three-week high on speculation that planned and unplanned refinery repairs may reduce inventories.

Futures gained as Philadelphia Energy Solutions plans to close the Girard Point section of the largest plant near New York Harbor, the delivery point for gasoline futures, this month, and a fluid catalytic cracker remained down at Delta Airlines Inc.’s Trainer, Pennsylvania, refinery. Valero Energy Corp. (VLO)’s McKee, Texas plant and Chevron Corp. (CVX)’s Mississippi operation shut units.

“Gasoline in New York Harbor continues strong on back of problems at Delta Trainer and upcoming maintenance at Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ refinery,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston.

Gasoline for February delivery rose 3.3 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $2.8298 a gallon at 9:37 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Prices touched $2.8369, the highest intraday level since Dec. 28. Prices advanced 2.1 percent last week, the first gain in three weeks.

There was no Nymex floor trading yesterday in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in the U.S.

Motiva Enterprises LLC will shut a crude unit, a delayed coker and a sulfur recovery unit at the Port Arthur, Texas, refinery Feb. 17 for a 38-day maintenance turnaround, according to two people familiar with operations.

Refinery Rates

U.S. refinery utilization fell 1.2 percentage points in the week ended Jan. 11, the lowest level in eight weeks, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show.

Between now and May, an average 1.5 million barrels a day of U.S. refinery capacity will be shut for maintenance, said Amrita Sen, chief oil market strategist at Energy Aspects Ltd., a research consulting company in London.

Heating oil for February delivery gained 2.18 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $3.0743 a gallon on the exchange. Prices were up 1.5 percent last week.

The retail price for regular gasoline, averaged nationwide, rose 0.5 cent to $3.310 a gallon, AAA said today on its website. That’s the fifth consecutive increase.

To contact the reporter on this story: Barbara 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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