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Gulf Gasoline Rises to Pre-Hurricane High as Refineries Restart

Gulf Coast gasoline rose to the highest level this month as refineries remained shut or at reduced rates in the wake of Hurricane Isaac.

Three refineries are still restarting after Isaac, a Category 1 hurricane, made final landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 29. The weather system caused flooding and power losses, closing seven refineries, representing 13 percent of Gulf Coast capacity, and reduced rates at other plants.

The premium for reformulated, 87-octane gasoline in the Gulf Coast rose 2.75 cents to 20 cents a gallon versus futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 12:01 p.m. New York time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It is the highest level since Aug. 27. Prompt delivery rose 3.81 cents to $3.2367 a gallon.

Restarts at Valero Energy Corp.’s Meraux and St. Charles refineries are progressing as planned, Bill Day, a spokesman for the San Antonio-based company, said in an e-mail. “The crude unit at Meraux remains shut for repairs,” he said.

Motiva Enterprises LLC expects to need another week to start units at its Convent, Louisiana, refinery.

The 255,000-barrel-a-day plant has been hampered by floodwaters and mechanical issues that prevented the fluid catalytic cracker from being restarted, two people familiar with operations said yesterday. The refinery shut Aug. 28 in advance of Hurricane Isaac.

Motiva expects to return its Norco, Louisiana, refinery to normal operating rates by Sept. 15, according to two people familiar with the plant’s operation. The 250,000-barrel-a-day refinery, shut Aug. 30, is increasing production, they said.

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