Chevron Said to Cut California Gasoline Production After Fire

Chevron Corp.’s Richmond refinery, the largest in northern California, is running a gasoline-making unit at about 60 percent capacity following an Aug. 6 fire that shut the crude unit, a person familiar with production said.

The 240,000-barrel-a-day plant is operating the fluid catalytic cracker, which processes vacuum gasoil into gasoline and lighter products, off of feedstock stored in tanks, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The refinery is also running one of two units at an Isomax hydrocracking complex at 60 percent capacity and the lube plant at low rates, the person said.

The blaze, which brought down the crude unit indefinitely, sent gasoline in San Francisco up 29.5 cents to 35 cents a gallon above futures traded in New York yesterday, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. That was the highest level in almost three months and the largest single-day increase since at least November 2007.

Melissa Ritchie, a Chevron spokeswoman at the refinery, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment. She said in an e-mail today that the San Ramon, California-based company was working to repair “affected equipment.”

The refinery extinguished a second fire at the plant that ignited at about 11:30 a.m. local time near the site of the Aug. 6 blaze, Ritchie said in a separate e-mail. Nobody was injured, and the fire was put out within minutes, she said.

The refinery is still performing a “controlled burn” of fuel from the original fire, she said.

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