Gulf Gasoline Weakens After Inventories Climb to Record High

Gasoline on the U.S. Gulf Coast weakened for the first time in three days after the Energy Department said regional supplies of the motor fuel climbed to a record last week.

Gasoline inventories in the area, known as PADD 3, rose 1.4 percent to 81.4 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 4, the Energy Department said today. That’s the highest level since at least 1990, when the agency began collecting the data. Production of the fuel dropped 6.1 percent to 1.93 million barrels a day.

The discount for reformulated gasoline to be blended with ethanol on the Gulf Coast widened 6 cents to 11.75 cents a gallon versus futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:17 p.m. East Coast time, the lowest level in almost two weeks, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Conventional, 87-octane gasoline weakened 3.5 cents to 14.25 cents below futures.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel in the region was unchanged at a discount of 2.25 cents against Nymex heating oil futures.

Distillate fuel oil inventories on the Gulf Coast climbed 4.6 percent last week to 37.1 million barrels. Supplies are at the lowest level for this time of year since 2008.

Motiva Enterprises LLC expects to take at least a week to repair a recurring leak on the 325,000-barrel-a-day crude unit at the Port Arthur refinery in Texas, a person familiar with operations said yesterday.

Motiva, a joint venture of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc subsidiaries, is “still targeting early 2013” for the full restart of the crude unit, Kimberly Windon, a Houston-based spokeswoman for the refinery, said by e-mail.

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