U.S. East Coast gasoline weakened to a nine-month low against futures on speculation that the flow of cargoes carrying fuel from Europe to the U.S. will rise and as a Pennsylvania refinery unit restarted.
About 28 tankers were probably chartered to load gasoline in the two weeks to Feb. 20, the highest number of bookings since Nov. 21, according to the median estimate in a survey of eight shipbrokers and traders specializing in the market.
Delta Air Lines Inc.’s Trainer, Pennsylvania, refinery is restarting a catalytic cracker after shutting in December to address issues with a slurry oil circuit, according to Trebor Banstetter, a company spokesman in Atlanta. The restart, coupled with increased cargoes, may boost gasoline supplies on the East Coast, where stockpiles climbed to 58.1 million barrels last week, Energy Information Administration data show.
Reformulated, 84-octane gasoline, or RBOB, in the New York Harbor slumped 2.62 cents to trade at a discount of 4.25 cents versus futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:25 p.m. That’s the widest gap since April 13 and a third consecutive decline. Prompt delivery slipped 6.61 cents to $2.9574 a gallon.
“The slew of cargoes will give New York a boost in imports over the next few weeks,” Thomas Finlon, a director for Energy Analytics Group Ltd. in Jupiter, Florida, said in a phone interview. “You’ll also end up with some gasoline from the Delta refinery.”
East Coast imports of gasoline increased 57,000 barrels a day to 666,000 in the week ended Feb. 1, the highest level since Sept. 7, EIA data showed.
The 3-2-1 crack spread in New York, based on Brent oil in Europe, dropped $1.732 to $11.5951 a barrel. The 3-2-1 spread on the U.S. Gulf Coast, measured using West Texas Intermediate in Cushing, rose 54.2 cents to $27.142. The same spread for Light Louisiana Sweet Oil dropped 1.4 cents to $6.9818 a barrel.
Conventional, 87-octane gasoline on the U.S. Gulf Coast rose 4.13 cents to trade 17.25 cents below futures, a second consecutive gain. Reformulated gasoline to be blended with ethanol strengthened 3.5 cents to 12.25 cents below futures.
Supplies in the region slipped 1.61 million barrels to 80.5 million last week, a third consecutive weekly decline, according to EIA data.