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Gulf Gasoline at 2-Week High on Motiva Port Arthur Outage

Gasoline strengthened on the Gulf Coast, reaching the the highest level versus futures in more than two weeks, after a power failure shut units at Motiva Enterprises LLC’s Port Arthur oil refinery in Texas.

Most process units at the refinery were shut yesterday as power and steam were lost during a storm, said Kimberly Windon, a Motiva spokeswoman in Houston. While power has been restored, “it is too early to tell when the units will be restarted, as this will be done only when it is safe to do so,” Windon said in an e-mail.

The refinery’s 325,000-barrel-a-day crude unit had fires Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 because of a leak on the system’s heater outlet, said a person with knowledge of the plant’s operations who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The plant is expected to finish repairs and try to restart by Dec. 23, the person said.

Conventional gasoline to be blended with ethanol on the Gulf Coast gained 2 cents to a discount of 18 cents below futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:34 a.m., the narrowest gap since Dec. 4. Ultra-low-sulfur diesel in the region was unchanged at 3 cents below heating oil futures.

Reformulated, 91-octane gasoline in New York Harbor retreated 0.37 cent to 3.88 cents above futures after Phillips 66 reported a malfunction on a lube oil pump of the C1 compressor at the 238,000-barrel-a-day Bayway refinery in New Jersey. The plant is the largest single refinery in the area.

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