California Gasoline Surges After Chevron Refinery Fire

Spot gasoline in California jumped to the highest level against futures in almost three months after Chevron Corp.’s Richmond oil refinery, Northern California’s largest, shut its only crude unit following a fire yesterday.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in San Francisco gained 29.5 cents to a premium of 35 cents a gallon against futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:46 p.m. East Coast time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the highest level for Carbob in the Bay Area since May 14 and the largest single-day increase since at least November 2007, when Bloomberg began compiling spot prices.

“There’s no availability” for the fuel, Bob van der Valk, a petroleum industry analyst in Terry, Montana, said in an e-mailed statement.

Chevron’s 240,000-barrel-a-day refinery shut its No. 4 crude unit after a blaze erupted at about 6:30 p.m. local time yesterday, Heather Kulp, a Richmond-based spokeswoman for Chevron, said earlier today. The fire is out and other units are operating at unknown levels, she said.

“We don’t know how long the crude unit will be down, and they may have had to shut other refining units as well,” Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston, said in an electronic message.

Carbob in Los Angeles jumped 25.5 cents to a premium of 28 cents a gallon versus futures, also the most since May 14.

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in Los Angeles strengthened 5.25 cents to 11.5 cents a gallon above Nymex heating oil futures, the highest level in three months. The same fuel in San Francisco slipped 0.5 cent to a 10.5-cent-a-gallon premium versus futures.

Conventional, 87-octane gasoline in Portland, Oregon, jumped 14 cents to 15 cents a gallon over Nymex gasoline futures. Low-sulfur diesel there was up 4 cents to 24 cents a gallon above heating oil futures.

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