Los Angeles Gasoline Drops as Exxon Said to Delay Torrance Work

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles dropped to the lowest level against futures in almost three months after Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Torrance refinery in Southern California was said to delay a maintenance turnaround until May.

The 150,000-barrel-a-day plant pushed back the shutdown of several process units to May from March, a person with knowledge of the schedule said yesterday. The work was previously set to begin in the first week of this month, a person familiar with the plan said Nov. 12.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles tumbled 5 cents against gasoline futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, to a discount of 10.5 cents a gallon at 1:40 p.m. East Coast time, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s the lowest level for the fuel since Dec. 18 and the biggest discount for this time of year since at least 2008.

BP Plc’s Carson refinery, the second-largest in California, began restarting equipment March 4 after a turnaround, according to a person familiar with operations there. The 266,000-barrel-a-day refinery plans to flare gases through March 15, the company said in a notice to the South Coast Air Quality Management District today.

Carbob in San Francisco gained against futures for the first time in four days, climbing 1 cent to a discount of 17 cents a gallon.

Tesoro’s 170,000-barrel-a-day Golden Eagle refinery in Northern California reported a unit shutdown yesterday, a notice to Contra Costa County regulators showed. The plant is resuming normal operations “after a brief unit upset,” Tina Barbee, a spokeswoman at the company’s headquarters in San Antonio, said by e-mail today.

The spread between the fuel in San Francisco and Los Angeles narrowed 6 cents to 6.5 cents a gallon, the smallest gap since Jan. 2. San Francisco Carbob, which generally trades at a discount to Los Angeles, weakened to a record 32.5 cents a gallon below Los Angeles on Jan. 14.

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in Los Angeles was unchanged against heating oil futures at a premium of 11.5 cents a gallon, a two-week low. The same fuel in San Francisco held at

10.5 cents a gallon above futures.

In Portland, Oregon, low-sulfur diesel was unchanged at a premium of 9.5 cents a gallon versus futures. Conventional, 84-octane gasoline in Portland weakened 3.75 cents against Nymex gasoline futures to a discount of 5 cents a gallon, the lowest level in five weeks.

-- Editors: Charlotte Porter, Margot Habiby