Los Angeles Gasoline Advances as Phillips 66, Exxon Repair Units

The premium for spot gasoline in Los Angeles gained against futures as Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Torrance refinery reported repairs on a unit and Phillips 66 was said to shut equipment to fix a leak.

Exxon’s 150,000-barrel-a-day Torrance refinery in Southern California is scheduled to flare gases through March 20 related to unit maintenance after a mechanical upset last week, Gesuina Paras, a company spokeswoman in Torrance, said by e-mail today. The work isn’t expected to affect production, she said.

Phillips 66’s 139,000-barrel-a-day Los Angeles plant was said to shut an isomerization unit today after discovering a leak, a person with direct knowledge of the work said. The unit, which makes unleaded gasoline components, may remain down until tomorrow for line repairs, the person said.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles strengthened 1.5 cents to 10.5 cents a gallon under futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:08 p.m. East Coast time, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Prompt delivery of the fuel dropped 1.99 cents to $3.0239 a gallon.

The same fuel in San Francisco gained 3.5 cents against Nymex gasoline futures to a discount of 11 cents.

Chevron Corp. said last week that the crude unit at its Richmond refinery, Northern California’s largest, is expected to be back in operation in the second quarter. The 240,000-barrel-a-day plant had planned to restart the equipment, shut since an Aug. 6 fire, by the end of March.

Valero Benicia

A hydrocracker at Valero Energy Corp.’s 170,000-barrel-a-day Benicia refinery in Northern California has also been shut since March 10 for repairs on a hydrogen plant.

The spread between San Francisco and Los Angeles Carbob narrowed 2 cents to 0.5 cent a gallon. San Francisco strengthened to a premium against Los Angeles last week for the first time in more than five months.

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in Los Angeles rose a second day against Nymex heating oil futures, increasing 1 cent to a premium of 8 cents a gallon, a one-week high. In San Francisco, the fuel gained a third day against futures, advancing 0.5 cent to a premium of 13.5 cents a gallon.

In Portland, Oregon, low-sulfur diesel fell by 0.5 cent to premium of 9.5 cents a gallon against futures, the fourth straight decline. Conventional, 84-octane gasoline in Portland strengthened 0.5 cent versus gasoline futures to a discount of 19 cents a gallon.

The 3-2-1 crack spread of Alaska North Slope crude, Carbob in Los Angeles and CARB diesel in Los Angeles dropped $1.081 to $16.123 a barrel at 4:10 p.m. New York time. The spread, a measure of refining profitability, hit a one-year low of $3.86 a barrel in December.