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California Gasoline Climbs After Stockpiles Drop a Sixth Week

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March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Spot gasoline in California gained against futures after the Energy Department said stockpiles of the fuel in the region dropped for a sixth straight week to the lowest level in four months.

Motor gasoline supplies on the U.S. West Coast, known as the PADD 5 region, fell 2.6 percent to 30.5 million barrels in the week ended March 15, the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, said today. That’s the lowest level since Nov. 16.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles strengthened 1.5 cents to 12.5 cents a gallon under futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1:55 p.m. East Coast time, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Prompt delivery of the fuel rose 5.27 cents to $2.9578 a gallon.

The same fuel in San Francisco gained 1 cent against Nymex gasoline futures to a discount of 13.5 cents a gallon.

San Francisco Carbob’s discount to the same fuel in Los Angeles widened 0.5 cent to 1 cent a gallon, the biggest spread in three days. San Francisco gained to a premium against Los Angeles last week for the first time in more than five months.

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in Los Angeles dropped 9.25 cents against Nymex heating oil futures to a discount of 1.75 cents a gallon as the contract rolled into April trading. In San Francisco, the fuel gained a fifth day against futures, advancing 1 cent to a premium of 15.5 cents a gallon.

Valero Refinery

Valero Energy Corp.’s 170,000-barrel-a-day Benicia refinery in Northern California is restarting a hydrocracker that had been shut since March 10 for hydrogen plant repairs, Bill Day, a spokesman at the company’s headquarters in San Antonio, said by e-mail today.

In Portland, Oregon, low-sulfur diesel fell by 0.5 cent to premium of 3.75 cents a gallon against futures, the sixth straight decline. Conventional, 84-octane gasoline in Portland weakened 6.75 cents versus gasoline futures to a record discount of 28.25 cents a gallon.

The 3-2-1 crack spread of Alaska North Slope crude, Carbob in Los Angeles and CARB diesel in Los Angeles gained for the first time in three days, increasing 98.6 cents to $14.42 a barrel at 2:06 p.m. New York time. The spread, a measure of refining profitability, reached the lowest level in almost two months yesterday.

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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