Gulf Gasoline Falls to 3-Week Low on 2 Refinery Startups

U.S. Gulf Coast gasoline weakened to the lowest level in almost three weeks as Phillips 66 restarted its Sweeny, Texas, refinery and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) returned a unit to service at its Baytown plant, also in Texas.

Phillips 66’s 247,000-barrel-a-day Sweeny refinery is in the process of starting units after a power failure caused a temporary shutdown of the plant on May 11, according to Rich Johnson, a company spokesman. Restart is expected to “take several days,” he said in an e-mail.

Exxon’s Baytown plant, the second-largest refinery on the U.S. Gulf Coast, started the No. 1 feed pump at a hydrocracker after an earlier shutdown, according to a filing with the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality. With the capacity to process 584,000 barrels a day, the refinery is second to Motiva Enterprises LLC’s 600,000-barrel-a-day Port Arthur, Texas, plant.

Conventional, 85-octane gasoline, or CBOB, on the Gulf Coast weakened 0.38 cent to 18.38 cents a gallon below futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:05 p.m., the biggest discount since April 23, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Ultra-low-sulfur diesel in the region was unchanged for a second day at a discount of 3.5 cents a gallon to futures.

Gasoline Supplies

Stockpiles of motor fuel on the Gulf, known as PADD 3, climbed 919,000 barrels to 72.6 million in the week ended May 3, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. Supplies of distillates, including diesel and heating oil, in the region grew 81,000 barrels to 36.3 million, the data show.

Phillips 66 (PSX)’s Sweeny refinery distributes refined products throughout the central and southeastern U.S. by pipelines, barge and rail car, according to the company website. The Baytown plant supplies gasoline to Texas and most states on the U.S. East Coast via pipeline, an Exxon fact sheet shows.

The 3-2-1 crack spread on the Gulf Coast, a rough measure of refining margins for gasoline and diesel fuel based on West Texas Intermediate crude oil in Cushing, Oklahoma, fell 6 cents to $21.19 a barrel, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The same spread for Light Louisiana Sweet oil gained 33 cents to $12.37 a barrel.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harvey in New York at charvey32@bloomberg.net

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

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