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San Francisco Gasoline Gains as Shell Starts Unit Repairs

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Spot gasoline in San Francisco advanced for the first time in seven days as Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Martinez refinery in Northern California began repairs.

Gasoline’s discount versus futures narrowed as the 165,000-barrel-a-day plant started planned work on unspecified units, Destin Singleton, a Shell spokeswoman in Houston, said in an e-mail. The refinery was scheduled for 45 to 50 days of maintenance on the fluid catalytic cracker, which processes vacuum gasoil into lighter petroleum products such as gasoline.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in San Francisco strengthened 6.5 cents against gasoline futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange to a discount of 17.5 cents a gallon, data compiled by Bloomberg at 2:02 p.m. East Coast time show. Prompt delivery jumped 5.96 cents to $2.4453 a gallon.

The same fuel in Los Angeles slid 4 cents versus futures to a discount of 13.5 cents a gallon.

Chevron’s 279,000-barrel-a-day El Segundo refinery, the single largest in California, restored rates at the coker after a compressor breakdown over the weekend, a person familiar with operations at the plant said today.

The refinery’s vacuum residue desulfurization plant went offline yesterday, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

‘Minor’ Issues

Rod Spackman, a spokesman for San Ramon, California-based Chevron, said by e-mail yesterday that the refinery had “minor operational issues” associated with a unit over the weekend.

“This problem was resolved quickly and there was no impact to our overall refinery operations,” Spackman, based at the El Segundo refinery, said.

Retail gasoline in California fell 0.4 cent to $3.635 a gallon, according to Heathrow, Florida-based AAA.

The 3-2-1 crack spread, assuming two barrels of Carbob gasoline and one barrel of California-grade diesel in Los Angeles is refined out of three barrels of Alaska North Slope crude, narrowed $1.93 to $7.44 a barrel at 4:08 p.m. New York time, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The spread, a rough indicator of refining profitability on the U.S. West Coast, is the smallest in four weeks.

Conventional, 87-octane gasoline in Portland, Oregon, a benchmark for the U.S. Pacific Northwest, weakened 2.5 cents to a discount of 20 cents a gallon.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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