Gulf Diesel Strengthens to 6-Month High on Supply Slip

U.S. Gulf Coast diesel fuel strengthened against futures as Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) began planned maintenance at its 340,000-barrel-a-day Deer Park, Texas, refinery following a drop in area supplies.

Shell (RDS/A)’s Deer Park plant is expected to conduct three to four weeks of work on a crude unit, a coker and a sulfur recovery unit, a person familiar with the schedule said Feb. 15. That may further decrease regional inventories, which fell 21,000 barrels to 40.3 million in the week ended Feb. 22, the Energy Information Administration reported.

Kimberly Windon, a Houston-based company spokesman, confirmed scheduled work began today. She didn’t discuss the units involved or the duration of the maintenance.

The premium for ultra-low-sulfur diesel on the Gulf Coast strengthened 1.25 cents to 9 cents a gallon against heating oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:12 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Yesterday was the last day of trading for March heating oil contracts.

Gulf Coast diesel traded 2.13 cents a barrel below the same fuel in New York Harbor. The 3-2-1 crack spread on the Gulf, a measure of refining profitability for gasoline and distillates based on West Texas Intermediate in Cushing, Oklahoma, increased 1.53 cents to $32.30 a barrel. The same spread for Light Louisiana Sweet rose 1.18 cents to 11.40.

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