San Francisco Gasoline Weakens After Tesoro Said to Start Units

Spot gasoline in San Francisco dropped to the lowest level against futures in almost a month after Tesoro Corp. was said to start units at the Golden Eagle refinery in Northern California.

The refinery returned a hydrocracker, which converts heavy hydrocarbons into lighter fuels such as high-octane gasoline, to service after repairs, a person with direct knowledge of operations at the plant said today. The unit is expected to increase to full rates by tomorrow, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

The discount for California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in in San Francisco widened 4 cents to 20.5 cents a gallon against futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:52 p.m. East Coast time, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the fuel’s lowest level in the Bay since Dec. 18.

The 170,000-barrel-a-day Golden Eagle plant also started the No. 3 hydrotreater and reformer, which were shut over the weekend, the person familiar with operations said. The alkylation unit, which produces a gasoline-blending component, was shut Jan. 6 for about 12 days of planned work.

Carbob in Los Angeles weakened for the third straight day to a premium of 0.5 cent a gallon against futures, the lowest since Jan. 11.

Chevron Corp.’s 279,000-barrel-a-day El Segundo plant near Los Angeles, California’s largest refinery, is proceeding with a maintenance turnaround on its fluid catalytic cracker after an incident Jan. 13 damaged the selective catalytic reduction unit, which cuts nitrogen oxide emissions from the cracker, Rod Spackman, a Chevron spokesman at the refinery, said Jan. 15.

Carbob Supply

Carbob inventories in California jumped 8.2 percent to 7.39 million barrels in the week ended Jan. 11, data posted on the state Energy Commission’s website yesterday shows. That’s the highest level of supplies since February 2008.

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in Los Angeles weakened 1 cent to a 4.5-cent-a-gallon premium to Nymex heating oil futures. The discount for the same fuel in San Francisco narrowed 1 cent to 2 cents a gallon against futures.

CARB diesel supplies in California slipped 0.1 percent to 3.02 million barrels last week, the state Energy Commission said. Inventories are down 9.7 percent from a year ago.

In Portland, low-sulfur diesel widened its discount 1.5 cents to 7 cents a gallon. Conventional, 84-octane gasoline in Portland, Oregon, was unchanged at 21 cents a gallon below futures.

Distillate fuel oil inventories on the U.S. West Coast, known as the PADD 5 region, rose 2.1 percent to 16.4 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration, an Energy Department agency, said yesterday. That’s the highest inventory level since at least 1990, when the agency began collecting data.

Gasoline supplies on the West Coast climbed 0.1 percent to 36.2 million barrels last week, the highest since February 1994, the Energy Department said.

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