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Gulf Gasoline Weakens as Valero Plants Start After Hurricane

Gulf Coast gasoline’s premium weakened for a third day as Valero Energy Corp. started the St. Charles and Meraux refineries in Louisiana that were shut for Hurricane Isaac.

The plants, shut Aug. 27 in preparation for the storm, have begun the restart process, Bill Day, a Valero spokesman, said in an e-mail. “It will be several days before all production units are online at the plant,” he said.

The premium for conventional, 87-octane gasoline in the Gulf Coast weakened 1.25 cents to 7.75 cents a gallon versus futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 12:06 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Prompt delivery fell 0.35 cent to $3.0616 a gallon, the lowest since Aug. 21.

Phillips 66 restored power at its Alliance refinery in Louisiana, according to an e-mail statement from the company. Workers are starting the plant, which will take a couple weeks to reach normal rates, the company said.

Placid Refining Co. has returned its Port Allen refinery in Louisiana to full rates after idling it before Isaac made landfall Aug. 28. The refinery returned to normal operations Sept. 2, Rafael Bermudez, a spokesman for the company, said in an e-mailed statement. The company idled the refinery Aug. 27.

The U.S. Energy Department last week approved a 1 million-barrel loan of crude oil to Marathon Petroleum Corp. to address shortages caused by Hurricane Isaac.

The loan of sweet crude oil will be returned within three months, plus premium barrels, which is similar to interest, the department said in a statement. Marathon can resume normal operations after running at reduced rates, Shane Pochard, a Findlay, Ohio-based spokesman, said in an Aug. 31 e-mail.

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