Los Angeles Gasoline Weakens on Supply Gain, Refinery Startup

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles fell against futures for the first time in three days after supplies of the fuel on the U.S. West Coast rose and as Tesoro Corp.’s Wilmington refinery was said to be preparing units for restart.

Motor-gasoline stockpiles on the West Coast, known as the PADD 5 region, increased for the first time in three weeks, adding 240,000 barrels to 35.2 million in the seven days ended Feb. 1, the Energy Information Administration, an Energy Department division, said today.

Tesoro’s 97,000-barrel-a-day Wilmington refinery in Southern California was nearing the end of a maintenance turnaround on units, including a fluid catalytic cracker and an alkylation unit, two people with knowledge of the work said today. Equipment was expected to begin restarting in about two days, one of the people said.

The premium for California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles narrowed 4.5 cents to 29 cents a gallon versus futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:52 p.m. East Coast time, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Prompt delivery in Los Angeles fell 4.27 cents to $3.3297 a gallon.

Carbob in San Francisco strengthened 1 cent to a premium of 11 cents a gallon against futures, the highest since Oct. 15. Prompt delivery there rose 1.23 cents to $3.1497 a gallon.

Tesoro’s 170,000-barrel-a-day Golden Eagle refinery shut a hydrocracker, which converts heavy hydrocarbons into lighter fuels such as high-octane gasoline, over the weekend for about three weeks of repairs, a person with direct knowledge of the work said Feb. 4.

Company Comment

Tina Barbee, a spokeswoman at Tesoro’s headquarters in San Antonio, said by e-mail today that both the Wilmington and Golden Eagle refineries are performing maintenance. She declined to specify the units involved.

San Francisco Carbob strengthened 5.5 cents to a discount of 18 cents a gallon against the fuel in Los Angeles, the narrowest spread since Jan. 23. The gap grew to a record 32.5 cents a gallon on Jan. 14.

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in Los Angeles gained 2 cents to a 10-cent-a-gallon premium to Nymex heating oil futures. The same fuel in San Francisco weakened 1 cent to a premium of 12.5 cents a gallon.

In Portland, low-sulfur diesel was unchanged at 6.5 cents a gallon above heating oil futures. Conventional, 84-octane gasoline was also unchanged at a premium of 2 cents a gallon to gasoline futures.

Portland 84-octane gasoline strengthened 4.5 cents to 27 cents a gallon under Los Angeles Carbob. The spread reached a record 75.5 cents a gallon on Oct. 4.

The 3-2-1 refinery crack spread between Alaskan North Slope crude, Carbob in Los Angeles and CARB diesel in Los Angeles, narrowed 97.3 cents to $28.113 a barrel at 3:56 p.m. New York time. The crack, a measure of refining profitability, fell to a year-low of $3.858 a barrel on Dec. 5.