Los Angeles Gasoline Weakens as BP, Tesoro Plan Unit Startups

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles dropped against futures as BP Plc and Tesoro Corp. were said to be preparing for the restart of production units at their refineries in Southern California.

BP’s 266,000-barrel-a-day Carson refinery, California’s second-largest, is scheduled to flare gases tomorrow through Feb. 16 related to the startup of a fluid catalytic cracker and alkylation unit following a maintenance turnaround, a person with knowledge of operations at the plant said yesterday.

Tesoro is also finishing a turnaround at the 97,000-barrel-a-day Wilmington refinery and was expected to begin starting equipment this week, two people with knowledge of the work said Feb. 6.

The premium for California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles narrowed 1.75 cents to 30 cents a gallon versus futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1:38 p.m. East Coast time, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Prompt delivery in Los Angeles rose 3.14 cents to $3.3488 a gallon.

Nymex gasoline futures rose 5.89 cents, or 2 percent, to settle at $3.0588 a gallon as a storm swept through the U.S. Northeast.

Carbob in San Francisco weakened 0.75 cent to 9.5 cents a gallon above futures. Prompt delivery there gained 4.14 cents to $3.1438 a gallon.

Tesoro’s 170,000-barrel-a-day Golden Eagle refinery started a “major unit” on Feb. 4, according to a notice to Contra Costa County regulators shows.

Tina Barbee, a Tesoro spokeswoman at the company’s headquarters in San Antonio, said by e-mail today that the Golden Eagle and Wilmington plants are performing maintenance.

San Francisco Carbob strengthened 1 cent to a discount of

20.5 cents a gallon against the fuel in Los Angeles. The gap reached a record 32.5 cents a gallon on Jan. 14.

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in Los Angeles was unchanged at an 11-cent-a-gallon premium to Nymex heating oil futures. The same fuel in San Francisco held at a premium of

11.5 cents a gallon.

In Portland, low-sulfur diesel was also unchanged at 5 cents a gallon above heating oil futures. Conventional, 84-octane gasoline remained at a premium of 3 cents a gallon to gasoline futures.

Portland 84-octane gasoline strengthened 1.75 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 $1.96 to $26.93 a barrel at 2:22 p.m. New York time. The crack, a measure of refining profitability, has more than doubled since the beginning of the year.