Ultra-low-sulfur diesel in Chicago strengthened to the highest level relative to futures in more than seven months as a refinery in Ohio halted production of the fuel as it repairs a unit.
Diesel’s premium in Chicago grew 14 cents to 9 cents a gallon more than futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange, according to data compiled by Bloomberg at 4:15 p.m. That’s the highest level since June 14. February ULSD futures settled at an 18.95-cent premium to March contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the largest backwardation in 14 years.
Husky Energy Inc.’s Lima refinery in Ohio won’t produce diesel until it replaces a pump in a hydrotreating unit, a person familiar with operations at the plant said. Workers hope to complete repairs this weekend, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.
“Diesel is just tight, it’s well bid,” said Steve Mosby, a partner in ADMO Energy LLC, a Kansas City, Missouri, supply consultancy. “The backwardation in the futures is no incentive to store, so there’s no fuel in storage.”
February futures, which expire tomorrow, settled up 3.54 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $3.217 a gallon on the Nymex. The more-active March futures gained 0.71 cent to $3.0275 a gallon. Backwardation is a market structure in which short-term supplies cost more than later deliveries.
Gasoline in Chicago strengthened by 5.25 cents versus New York futures to a discount of 10 cents a gallon, the smallest since Jan. 13.