Los Angeles Gasoline Gains on Supply Decline, Valero Units Shut

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles climbed against futures for the first time in four days after the Energy Department said regional supplies dropped last week and as Valero Energy Corp. was said to extend an equipment shutdown.

Gasoline stockpiles on the West Coast, known as the PADD 5 region, declined 4.2 percent to 33.7 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 8, the Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, said today.

Valero’s Wilmington refinery near Los Angeles will keep its fluid catalytic cracker and alkylation unit down for about another week of repairs, a person familiar with the work said today. The equipment has been shut since Feb. 4 to “take care of an issue with the alky” that surfaced during previous work, according to Bill Day, a spokesman at the company’s headquarters in San Antonio.

The premium for California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles strengthened 1 cent 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 2.17 cents to $3.362 a gallon, the highest since Feb. 5.

Carbob in San Francisco dropped 3.5 cents to 2 cents a gallon below Nymex futures, the first time the fuel has traded at a discount since Jan. 25. Prompt delivery of the fuel fell

2.33 cents to $3.042 a gallon.

Golden Eagle

Tesoro Corp.’s 170,000-barrel-a-day Golden Eagle refinery is starting a hydrocracker after replacing equipment, a person with direct knowledge of the work said yesterday. The unit should return to full rates by tomorrow, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

The hydrocracker was shut Feb. 2 after a hole was found in a line, a person with knowledge of the closing said Feb. 4. The repairs, initially expected to take three weeks, were finished ahead of scheduled using equipment the plant had at hand, two people familiar with operations there said yesterday.

San Francisco Carbob weakened 4.5 cents to a discount of 32 cents a gallon against the fuel in Los Angeles, the biggest gap since the spread reached a record 32.5 cents a gallon Jan. 14.

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in Los Angeles was unchanged at an 8.5-cent-a-gallon premium to Nymex heating oil futures. The same fuel in San Francisco held at a premium of

10.25 cents a gallon.

Distillate Inventories

Distillate fuel oil supplies on the West Coast tumbled 6.4 percent to 13.7 million barrels last week, the lowest since Nov. 30, the EIA said.

In Portland, low-sulfur diesel was unchanged at 6 cents a gallon above heating oil futures. Conventional, 84-octane gasoline there remained 2 cents a gallon above gasoline futures.

Portland 84-octane gasoline’s discount to Los Angeles Carbob widened 1 cent to 28 cents a gallon. 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 widened a second day, gaining 62.4 cents to $24.389 a barrel. The crack, a measure of refining profitability, reached a year low of $3.858 a barrel on Dec. 5.