Gulf Coast Gasoline Weakens After Motiva Port Arthur Unit Starts

U.S. Gulf Coast gasoline weakened to the lowest level since mid-December after Motiva Enterprises LLC confirmed that the largest crude unit at its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery is running at planned rates.

The crude unit, which has a capacity of 325,000 barrels a day, restored the production after several weeks of ramping up, Kayla Macke, a Motiva spokeswoman in Houston, said by e-mail. Total refinery capacity is 600,000 barrels a day.

Motiva started shutting other units, including a delayed coker, a sulfur recovery unit and the smallest of three crude units, known as VPS-2, for 38 days of maintenance, two people familiar with operations said on Feb. 14.

Reformulated gasoline, or RBOB in the U.S. Gulf Coast weakened 4.5 cents to a 25-cent discount against futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:07 p.m. East Coast time, the widest differential since Dec. 17, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Conventional, 87-octane gasoline weakened 1.12 cents to a discount of 28 cents.

The 3-2-1 crack spread in the Gulf, a measure of refining profitability based on West Texas Intermediate in Cushing, Oklahoma, fell $1.04 to $31.54 a barrel. The same spread for Light Louisiana Sweet oil dropped $1.24 to $9.49 a barrel.

New York Harbor gasoline weakened versus futures after supplies of motor fuel on the U.S. East Coast grew 651,000 barrels to 60.5 million barrels in the week ended Mar. 1, the highest level in almost a year, an Energy Information Administration report showed today.

Reformulated, 84-octane gasoline, or RBOB, in New York Harbor retreated 0.38 cents to 23.88 cents a gallon below futures.

The 3-2-1 crack spread in New York Harbor, a measure of refining profitability for gasoline and diesel fuel based on Brent oil in Europe, fell 40 cents to $12.97 a barrel.

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