California Gasoline Weakens After Valero, Tesoro Restart Units

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles slid against futures for the fourth straight day after Valero Energy Corp. started two units at its refinery in Southern California.

Valero’s 78,000-barrel-a-day Wilmington plant near Los Angeles returned to service the fluid catalytic cracker and the alkylation unit, which were shut Dec. 21 to repair a leak, Bill Day, a Valero spokesman at the company’s headquarters in San Antonio, said by e-mail today.

Both units are increasing to “planned rates,” Day said.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles weakened 6 cents to a discount of 5.5 cents a gallon against futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:01 p.m. East Coast time, data compiled by Bloomberg show. It’s the steepest discount since Dec. 20.

Carbob in San Francisco weakened 7 cents to 27.5 cents a gallon below futures, the lowest since Dec. 17.

Tesoro’s 170,000-barrel-a-day Golden Eagle refinery near San Francisco returned a hydrocracker after finishing repairs, a person with direct knowledge of operations at the plant said yesterday. The plant also started the No. 3 hydrotreater and reformer, which were unexpectedly shut over the weekend, said the person who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

The refinery reported a “major unit startup” yesterday, a notice to Contra Costa County regulators shows.

El Segundo

Chevron Corp.’s 279,000-barrel-a-day El Segundo plant, California’s largest refinery, Tesoro’s Los Angeles plant and BP Plc’s Carson refinery are all performing maintenance turnarounds on process units.

The 3-2-1 refinery crack spread between Alaskan North Slope crude, Carbob in Los Angeles and California-grade diesel in Los Angeles, has shrunk to almost a sixth of a record $60.239 a barrel reached on Oct. 4. The crack, a measure of refining profitability, narrowed 28 cents to $10.512 a barrel, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Carbob in San Francisco widened its discount to Los Angeles 1 cent to 22 cents a gallon. It weakened to a record 32.5 cents a gallon below Los Angeles on Jan. 14.

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in Los Angeles strengthened 2.75 cents to a 7.25-cent premium to Nymex heating oil futures. The discount for the same fuel in San Francisco was unchanged at 2 cents a gallon.

In Portland, low-sulfur diesel widened its discount 2 cent to 9 cents a gallon, while conventional, 84-octane gasoline in strengthened 1 cent to 20 cents a gallon below futures.

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