Spot Gasoline Drops as East Coast, Midwest Refinery Units Start

Spot gasoline in New York weakened for a fourth session after units capable of producing more than 300,000 barrels of the fuel returned to service in the East Coast and Midwest regions.

Irving Oil Corp. started a 70,000-barrel-a-day catalytic cracker at its Saint John refinery in New Brunswick, Lesley Dickson, a company spokeswoman, said in an e-mail yesterday. Units at other refineries, including a 165,000-barrel-a-day catalytic cracker at BP Plc’s plant in Whiting, Indiana, resumed service late last week.

The premium for conventional, 87-octane gasoline in New York Harbor fell 2.12 cents to 1.38 cents over futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:29 p.m. local time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Prompt delivery dropped 4.15 cents to $2.3352 a gallon.

The Saint John refinery exports about 175,000 barrels of petroleum products a day to markets in the U.S. Northeast, including New York Harbor, the delivery point of the Nymex gasoline and heating oil contracts.

Sunoco Inc. also started a desulfurization unit at its refinery in Philadelphia on Dec. 1, Jeff Moran, a spokesman for the city’s health department, said in an e-mail.

The premium for conventional, 87-octane gasoline in the Gulf Coast slipped 1.25 cents to a discount of 4.25 cents to futures at 2:31 p.m. in New York.

Valero Energy Corp. started a fluid catalytic cracker at its Memphis, Tennessee, refinery over the weekend, Bill Day, a company spokesman, said in an e-mail yesterday. The 70,000-barrel-a-day unit is increasing to planned rates, Day said.

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