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California-Blend Gasoline Strengthens as Conoco Performs Work

California-blend gasoline strengthened against futures after ConocoPhillips reported planned flaring at the Los Angeles oil refinery and was said to start work early on a sulfur unit at the Rodeo plant.

Conoco will flare gases at the 139,000-barrel-a-day Los Angeles refinery April 20, according to a regulatory notice. The 128,000-barrel-a-day Rodeo plant, north of San Francisco, started work early on a sulfur unit that was shut last week after a fire, a person familiar with operations said.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles rose 3.5 cents to a premium of 1.5 cents a gallon against futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:51 p.m. East Coast time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The fuel in Los Angeles tumbled 5.5 cents yesterday on refinery selling.

Rich Johnson, a Conoco spokesman at the company’s headquarters in Houston, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail requesting comment on flaring at the Wilmington refinery. He declined to comment yesterday on the status of the sulfur unit at the Rodeo plant.

San Francisco Carbob climbed 0.5 cent to a premium of 3 cents a gallon against gasoline futures.

Motor gasoline inventories on the West Coast, known as the Padd 5 region, dropped 1.2 million barrels, or 3.9 percent, to 29.7 million barrels in the week ended April 13, the Energy Department said. That’s the lowest level since Dec. 30.

Distillate fuel oil inventories on the West Coast tumbled to the lowest level since November, falling by 803,000 barrels, or 6.2 percent, to 12.2 million, the department said.

CARB diesel in Los Angeles rose 0.75 cent to a premium of 7.25 cents a gallon versus Nymex heating oil futures. The same fuel in San Francisco jumped 3.5 cents to a 10.5-cent premium.

Conventional, 87-octane gasoline in Portland, Oregon strengthened 1.5 cents to a 3.5-cent premium against gasoline futures. Low-sulfur diesel there rose for the first time in three days, increasing 1 cent to a premium of 24.5 cents a gallon versus heating oil futures.

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