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U.S. Gulf Gasoline Climbs on Refinery Upsets, Export Speculation

Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Gulf Coast gasoline climbed to a one-month high as an area refinery reported a power failure and on speculation gasoline was exported to the Caribbean and Latin America.

Conventional, 85.5-octane gasoline, or CBOB, on the coast added 2.75 cents to 14.5 cents a gallon below futures at 2:37 p.m., the strongest level since Oct. 17, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The conventional, 87-octane grade rose 2.75 cents to a discount of 12.25 cents a gallon, also the narrowest in a month, the data showed.

The differentials shrank after Flint Hills Resources Inc. said an unplanned power loss at its Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery, resulted in flaring Nov. 16. Citgo Petroleum Corp.’s Corpus Christi plant was undergoing maintenance as of Nov. 14 while its Lake Charles, Louisiana, site shut equipment after a fire on Nov. 7.

About nine ships were set to carry products to the Caribbean and South and Central America in the seven days ended today, compared with eight in a week earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Increases in gasoline-related exports from the U.S. Gulf Coast are linked to low utilization rates in Venezuela, according a weekly report by Energy Analytics Group Ltd.

Output from Venezuela’s 955,000-barrel-a-day Paraguana refining center slipped to 64 percent of capacity in November, while the El Palito site experienced a fire in a tank Nov. 10.

The 3-2-1 crack spread on the U.S. Gulf Coast, a rough measure of refining margins based on West Texas Intermediate oil in Cushing, Oklahoma, climbed $1.29 to $16.97 a barrel. The same spread, based on Light Louisiana Sweet oil, the Gulf Coast benchmark, rose 29 cents to $14.27 a barrel, the eighth consecutive gain and highest since February, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harvey in New York at charvey32@bloomberg.net

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

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