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California Gasoline Falls After Phillips 66 Said to Delay Work

Spot gasoline in California weakened against futures after Phillips 66 was said to delay six weeks of work on a hydrocracker at the Rodeo refinery in Northern California to take advantage of a fuel-price surge after a fire that cut production at Chevron Corp.’s Richmond plant.

The 76,000-barrel-a-day Rodeo refinery put off maintenance for at least a month at a hydrocracking unit, which makes gasoline and jet fuel, a person with knowledge of the schedule said yesterday. An Aug. 6 blaze at Chevron’s Richmond refinery forced the plant’s only crude unit to shut indefinitely.

The 240,000-barrel-a-day Richmond refinery, Northern California’s largest, is still running the fluid catalytic cracker, which processes vacuum gasoil into gasoline and lighter products, at 60 percent capacity off of feedstock stored in tanks, a person with direct knowledge of operations at the plant said Aug. 8. A unit at the Isomax hydrocracking complex is also running at 60 percent, the person said.

California-blend gasoline in San Francisco fell 1.5 cent to 37.5 cents a gallon above futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:19 p.m. New York time, slipping from a three-month high, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. The fuel has risen 32 cents a gallon against futures since the fire.

Unbranded gasoline prices paid by wholesalers in the San Francisco area are up as much as 40 cents a gallon. Tesoro Corp. was selling unbranded, California-blend gasoline in Richmond for $3.40 a gallon, up from $3 on Aug. 6, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. Valero Energy Corp. was selling the same fuel in Richmond for $3.38 a gallon, up from $3.005 before the fire.

Benicia Plant

Valero’s 170,000-barrel-a-day Benicia refinery in Northern California was returning a fluid catalytic cracker to planned rates following a July 26 shutdown for compressor repairs.

California-blend gasoline in Los Angeles dropped 6 cents to a premium of 20 cents a gallon against futures, the lowest level in four days.

California-blend diesel in Los Angeles gained 1 cent to 16 cents a gallon above Nymex heating oil futures. The same fuel in San Francisco tumbled 4.5 cents to 18.5 cents over futures.

Conventional, 87-octane gasoline in Portland, Oregon, slipped 3 cents to 23 cents above gasoline futures. Low-sulfur diesel there rose 1 cent to a 29-cent premium against heating oil futures.

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