San Francisco Gasoline Hits Five-Week Low on Tesoro Unit Startup

Spot gasoline in San Francisco dropped to the lowest level against futures in more than five weeks after Tesoro Corp.’s Golden Eagle refinery reported a unit startup and was said to have returned a reformer to service.

The 170,000-barrel-a-day Golden Eagle plant reported a unit startup on March 1, a notice to Contra Costa County regulators showed. The refinery brought a continuous catalytic reformer back online late yesterday after about a week of repairs, a person with direct knowledge of the work said today.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in San Francisco weakened 4.88 cents to 16.38 cents a gallon under futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:33 p.m. East Coast time, data compiled by Bloomberg showed. That’s the biggest discount for the fuel since Jan. 22 and its lowest level for this time of year since at least 2008.

Carbob in Los Angeles climbed 1.62 cents against futures to a discount of 2.38 cents a gallon.

BP Plc’s Carson refinery in Southern California is restarting a catalytic cracker and an alkylation unit after finishing a planned maintenance turnaround, a person familiar with operations there said today. The units will take several days to reach normal rates, the person said.

The spread between the fuel in San Francisco and Los Angeles widened 6.5 cents to 14 cents a gallon, the biggest since Feb. 25. San Francisco Carbob weakened to a record 32.5 cents a gallon under Los Angeles on Jan. 14.

Los Angeles

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in Los Angeles fell 1.5 cents against Nymex heating oil futures to a premium of 13 cents a gallon. The same fuel in San Francisco held at 12 cents a gallon above futures.

In Portland, Oregon, low-sulfur diesel weakened 0.5 cent against futures to a premium of 11 cents a gallon. Conventional, 84-octane gasoline there gained against gasoline futures for the first time in four days, rising 2 cents to a discount of 1.5 cents a gallon.

Tesoro’s Anacortes refinery in Washington state is performing planned maintenance, Tina Barbee, a company spokeswoman in San Antonio, said by e-mail Feb. 27. The plant was scheduled to shut equipment, including the crude unit, for a turnaround that’s expected to last until April 13, a person with direct knowledge of the work said Jan. 28. The company said Feb. 7 that the refinery would also perform work on the fluid catalytic cracker toward the end of this quarter.

The 3-2-1 refinery crack spread of Alaska North Slope crude, Carbob in Los Angeles and CARB diesel in Los Angeles narrowed 76.3 cents to $21.839 a barrel at 4:03 p.m. New York time. The spread, a measure of refining profitability, hit a one-month low last week.

-- Editors: Richard Stubbe, Bill Banker

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.