Gasoline Gains on Speculation Outages Will Reduce Fuel Supply

Gasoline gained on speculation that unplanned refinery shutdowns and slowdowns will crimp supply as the nation nears the Sept. 2 Labor Day holiday.

Futures rose 0.7 percent. Motiva Enterprises LLC was forced to shut or slow crude units and other equipment at the 255,000-barrel-a-day Convent, Louisiana, plant and the 600,000-barrel-a-day Port Arthur, Texas, site, which is the larges in the U.S. Inventories fell 4.03 million barrels last week, according to the Energy Information Administration.

“Gasoline remains supported by higher-than-expected inventory draws and the numerous refinery problems at Motiva Port Arthur and Convent, which will impact gasoline supplies as we go into the Labor Day weekend,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston.

Gasoline for September delivery rose 2.12 cents to $2.9589 a gallon at 10:26 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange on trading volume that was 25 percent below the 100-day average.

Motiva Port Arthur is operating at less than half capacity after the shutdown of a fire-damaged hydrocracker forced the idling of the plant’s biggest crude unit. The 325,000-barrel-a-day crude unit will be out of production until the refinery finds a buyer for its output of vacuum gasoil, which feeds the hydrocracker that may be down two to six weeks, a person familiar with operations said yesterday.

Convent Outage

Motiva’s refinery in Convent may have to keep a crude unit shut for a month after an Aug. 19 fire, a person familiar with operations said.

The motor fuel’s crack spread versus West Texas Intermediate crude increased 3 cents to $14.55 a barrel. The fuel’s premium over Brent rose 42 cents to $8.98.

Pump prices, averaged nationwide, rose 0.1 cent to $3.534 a gallon, Heathrow, Florida-based AAA said today on its website. Prices are 18.2 cents below a year earlier.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for September delivery gained 0.6 cent to $3.0828 a gallon on trading volume that was 10 percent below the 100-day average.

ULSD’s crack spread versus WTI fell 41 cents to $25.16 a barrel. The premium over Brent widened 5 cents to $19.66 a barrel.

To contact the reporters 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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