Gasoline on the northeastern U.S. spot market strengthened to the smallest discount to futures in six months after Canada’s largest refinery shut a fuel production unit.
Irving Oil Corp. halted a 70,000-barrel-a-day fluid catalytic cracker at the refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick, today, according to Genscape Inc., an energy information company based in Louisville, Kentucky. Carolyn Van der Veen, a spokeswoman for Irving, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
The spread for conventional, 83.5-octane gasoline, or CBOB, in New York Harbor gained 0.5 cent to 9 cents below futures at 1:55 p.m., the narrowest since Feb. 28, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Reformulated, 84-octane gasoline, or RBOB, rose 0.63 cent to 3.38 cents above futures.
“Irving tends to be a swing player in Northeast gasoline markets,” said Tom Finlon, director of Jupiter, Florida-based Energy Analytics Group LLC. “When they break down, there are buyers.”
Finlon said the Irving shutdown amid the perception of a shortage in U.S. gasoline supplies because imports from Europe have been lower than normal.
Gasoline stockpiles in PADD 1, the U.S. Northeast, declined by 2.74 million barrels, or 4.5 percent, to 58.5 million in the week ended Aug. 16, according to the latest inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.