Gulf Gasoline Gains After Fire at Port Arthur Crude Unit

Gasoline strengthened on the U.S. Gulf Coast after a fire broke out today at Motiva Enterprises LLC’s new 325,000-barrel-a-day crude unit in Port Arthur, Texas.

The fire was the second in less than a week as the company attempts to restart the unit after six months of repairs. The pipestill is stable and Motiva is “still targeting early 2013 for restart as planned,” Kimberly Windon, a Houston-based spokeswoman for the refinery, said in an e-mail. A small pipe leak and fire forced the unit to shut Dec. 11.

The crude unit is the largest of three at Port Arthur and was initially shut for repairs several days after operations began in May. At full rates, the refinery can make 240,000 barrels a day of gasoline and 190,000 barrels of diesel, according to the company.

Conventional gasoline to be blended with ethanol, or CBOB, on the Gulf Coast gained 2 cents to 33 cents a gallon below futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1:33 p.m. Conventional, 87-octane gasoline rose 2 cents to trade at a 31-cent discount.

Motiva said June 19 that a caustic chemical may have caused corrosion of equipment on the crude unit after it was shut down. The Port Arthur refinery is the largest in the country, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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