San Francisco Diesel at Three-Week High as Valero Repairs Unit

The premium for spot diesel in San Francisco rose to the highest level against futures in three weeks as Valero Energy Corp.’s Benicia refinery performed repairs that have kept its hydrocracker shut for nine days.

The Benicia plant in Northern California took its 36,000-barrel-a-day hydrocracker out of service March 10 after a hydrogen plant upset. The unit, which converts heavy hydrocarbons into lighter fuels such as high-octane gasoline, is down during the work, Bill Day, a spokesman at Valero’s headquarters in San Antonio, said by e-mail today.

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in San Francisco strengthened a fourth day against heating oil futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, rising 1.5 cents to a premium of 15 cents a gallon at 12:02 p.m. New York time, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the fuel’s highest level since Feb. 21. Prompt delivery fell 3.48 cents to $3.0269 a gallon.

Chevron Corp.’s 240,000-barrel-a-day Richmond refinery, the largest in Northern California, hasn’t produced diesel since an Aug. 6 fire took its only crude unit out of service. The equipment is expected to be back in operation in the second quarter, the company said last week.

CARB diesel in Los Angeles gained 1 cent against heating oil futures to a premium of 9 cents a gallon, a one-week high.

CARB diesel in San Francisco widened 0.5 cent to a premium of 6 cents a gallon versus the fuel in Los Angeles.

Carbob Prices

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in San Francisco dropped 3.5 cents against Nymex gasoline futures to a discount of 14.5 cents a gallon. The same fuel in Los Angeles fell 3 cents to 13.5 cents a gallon under futures, a one-week low.

In Portland, Oregon, conventional, 84-octane gasoline weakened 1 cent versus gasoline futures to a discount of 20 cents a gallon. Low-sulfur diesel there fell by 5.25 cents to premium of 4.25 cents a gallon against futures, the fifth straight decline and the lowest level since Jan. 31.

BP Plc’s 234,000-barrel-a-day Cherry Point oil refinery in Washington was running normally after reporting flaring over the weekend, a person familiar with operations there said yesterday.