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San Francisco Gasoline Gains After Valero, Chevron Report Upsets

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March 12 (Bloomberg) -- Spot gasoline in San Francisco climbed against futures for the first time in four days after Valero Energy Corp.’s Benicia refinery shut a hydrocracker and Chevron Corp.’s Richmond plant reported an electrical upset.

The hydrocracker at Valero’s 170,000-barrel-a-day Benicia refinery was offline after a hydrogen plant upset over the weekend, Bill Day, a Valero spokesman in San Antonio, said by e-mail. Chevron’s 240,000-barrel-a-day Richmond refinery, the largest in Northern California, reported an electrical unit upset yesterday, a notice to county regulators shows.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in San Francisco gained 1.5 cents to a discount of 17 cents a gallon against futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:12 p.m. East Coast time, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Prompt delivery of the fuel advanced 1.28 cents to $2.9802 a gallon.

A “major electrical unit” tripped offline at the Richmond refinery, San Ramon, California-based Chevron said in a notice to Contra Costa County regulators yesterday. The equipment was restarted, the filing said.

Carbob in Los Angeles dropped 3.25 cents versus gasoline futures to a discount of 16 cents a gallon, the fuel’s lowest level since Dec. 18.

Exxon Mobil Corp.’s 150,000-barrel-a-day Torrance refinery is operating normally after an equipment upset in a unit earlier today, Gesuina Paras, a company spokeswoman in Torrance, said by e-mail. The incident didn’t affect production and the company is meeting commitments, she said.

Spread Narrows

The spread between Carbob in San Francisco and Los Angeles narrowed 4.75 cents to 1 cent a gallon, the smallest gap in five months. San Francisco reached a record discount of 32.5 cents a gallon against Los Angeles on Jan. 14.

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in Los Angeles tumbled 5 cents against Nymex heating oil futures to a premium of 5.5 cents a gallon, the lowest level since Jan. 23. The same fuel in San Francisco weakened 4 cents to a premium of 8 cents a gallon against Nymex heating oil futures, a six-week low.

Chevron expects to restart the only crude unit at the Richmond refinery by the end of the month, Sean Comey, a company spokesman based in San Ramon, said by e-mail today. The unit has been shut since an Aug. 6 fire, halting diesel production at the plant.

In Portland, Oregon, low-sulfur diesel gained 1.5 cents to premium of 17.5 cents a gallon versus futures, the highest level since November. Conventional, 84-octane gasoline in Portland dropped 4.5 cents against gasoline futures to a discount of 12 cents a gallon, the lowest level since Jan. 25.

The 3-2-1 crack spread of Alaska North Slope crude, Carbob in Los Angeles and CARB diesel in Los Angeles narrowed a second day, losing $2.441 to $16.333 a barrel at 4:16 p.m. New York time. The spread, a measure of refining profitability, reached a year-low of $3.86 a barrel in December.

-- Editors: Charlotte Porter, Richard Stubbe

To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at ldoan6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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