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Gulf Coast Gasoline Declines Amid Seasonally High Refinery Rates

Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Gulf Coast gasoline weakened relative to futures as regional refineries running more crude for the season than any other year on record boost supplies in the region.

Reformulated, 84-octane gasoline, or RBOB, on the Gulf Coast slid 1.25 cents to a discount of 15.75 cents a gallon versus New York Mercantile Exchange futures at 3:54 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Gulf Coast refiners processed 8.47 million barrels of crude in the week ended Sept. 6, the most for this time of year in Energy Information Administration data back to 1993 and 19 percent above the average of the past five years.

Inventories are at a five-year seasonal high on the Gulf Coast, the region known as PADD 3. Stockpiles of gasoline in the area narrowly declined to 77.7 million in the week ended Sept. 13 after rising by more than 2 million barrels the week before, Energy Information Administration data showed.

The 3-2-1 crack spread on the Gulf Coast, a rough measure of refining margins for gasoline and diesel based on West Texas Intermediate oil in Cushing, Oklahoma, retreated $1.38 to $5.85 a barrel.

Conventional, 85-octane gasoline, or CBOB, in Chicago slipped 10 cents to a discount of 8 cents a gallon against futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:04 p.m. Ultra-low-sulfur diesel slid 0.13 cent to a premium of 2.25 cents a gallon. The Chicago crack spread, based on WTI, tumbled $3.71 to $9.03 a barrel.

California-blend, or Carbob, gasoline in San Francisco weakened by 0.5 cent to a premium of 6 cents a gallon more than futures on the Nymex after Valero Energy Corp. reported a fluid catalytic cracker at its Benicia, California refinery restarted and was at planned rates today.

Carbob in Los Angeles strengthened by 1 cent to a premium of 12.5 cents a gallon at 3:54 p.m.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eliot Caroom in New York at ecaroom@bloomberg.net

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

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