Midwest Gasoline Strenthens on Shut Hydrotreater, Supply

Midwest gasoline and diesel strengthened to a two-month high versus futures as a hydrotreater shut at a Minnesota refinery and regional gasoline supplies slumped the most since 2008.

Flint Hills Resources Inc. idled a distillate hydrotreater after an “event” at its 330,000-barrel-a-day Pine Bend, Minnesota, refinery April 27, said Brent Rohne, a pollution control specialist with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. A hydrotreater removes sulfur from refined products.

Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP Plc are conducting maintenance at the Joliet, Illinois, and Whiting, Indiana, plants.

Stockpiles of gasoline in the Midwest, known as PADD 2, slipped 2.51 million barrels to 50 million in the week ended April 26, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported today. Refineries utilized 84.5 percent of capacity, the lowest seasonal level since at least 2010.

Conventional gasoline in the Group 3 region strengthened 3.38 cents to 2.25 cents a gallon above futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:40 p.m. That’s the highest level since Feb. 28, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel in the group gained 3.87 cents to a 6.75-cent premium. Group 3, located in PADD 2, stretches north from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Minnesota and North Dakota.

The 3-2-1 crack spread in Group 3, a rough measure of refining margins based on West Texas Intermediate in Cushing, Oklahoma, increased 79 cents to $26.07 a barrel.

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