Los Angles Gasoline Gains a Second Day on Refinery Maintenance

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles gained against futures for a second day after BP Plc’s Carson refinery, the second-largest in California, extended flaring as units restart after maintenance.

The 266,000-barrel-a-day Carson refinery will flare gases until Feb. 22 as it restarts a fluid catalytic cracker and an alkylation unit that were shut in early January for planned repairs, a person familiar with operations at the plant said today. The refinery previously planned to flare through Feb. 17, BP said in a notice filed with air regulators yesterday.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles strengthened 1 cent to a 31-cent-a-gallon premium against gasoline futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:15 p.m. East Coast time, a one-week high, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Prompt delivery of the fuel in Los Angeles jumped 9.12 cents to $3.4266 a gallon, the highest since Oct. 9.

Valero Energy Corp. will keep the fluid catalytic cracker and an alkylation unit at the Wilmington oil refinery near Los Angeles shut for about another week of repairs, a person familiar with the work said yesterday. The equipment was shut Feb. 4 to perform repairs on the alkylation unit, Bill Day, a spokesman at Valero’s headquarters in San Antonio, said.

“It will be a while” before the work is complete and the units are restarted, Day said by e-mail today.

The discount for Carbob in San Francisco narrowed 1 cent to 1 cent a gallon versus Nymex futures. Prompt delivery of the fuel jumped 9.12 cents to $3.1066.

Gasoline Stockpiles

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 yesterday.

Carbob supplies increased for the first time in four weeks, climbing 1.9 percent to 6.93 million barrels, data posted on the state Energy Commission’s website today show.

San Francisco Carbob was unchanged at 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 gained 0.75 cent to a 10.75-cent-a-gallon premium to Nymex heating oil futures. The same fuel in San Francisco climbed 0.5 cent to 12.5 cents a gallon above futures.

CARB diesel stockpiles dropped for a fifth week, slipping 1.3 percent to 1.98 million barrels, state data showed. That’s the lowest inventory level since Aug. 24 and the lowest for this season in eight years. Distillate fuel oil supplies on the West Coast tumbled 6.4 percent to 13.7 million barrels, the lowest since Nov. 30, the EIA said.

The premium for jet fuel in Los Angeles widened 2 cents to 15 cents a gallon versus heating oil futures.

Portland Diesel

In Portland, Oregon, low-sulfur diesel dropped 1.5 cents to 4.5 cents a gallon above heating oil futures. Conventional, 84-octane gasoline there was unchanged at 2 cents a gallon above gasoline futures.

Portland 84-octane gasoline’s discount to Los Angeles Carbob widened 1 cent to 29 cents a gallon. The spread reached a record 75.5 cents a gallon on Oct. 4.

The 3-2-1 refinery crack spread of Alaskan North Slope crude, Carbob in Los Angeles and CARB diesel in Los Angeles widened a third day, jumping $2.427 to $26.522 a barrel. The crack, a measure of refining profitability, reached a one-year low of $3.858 a barrel on Dec. 5.

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