Gulf Gasoline Weakens as Refineries Expect to Finish Work

U.S. Gulf Coast gasoline weakened from a three-week high as refineries were expected to finish maintenance, boosting supplies in the region.

Motiva Enterprises LLC’s Port Arthur, Texas, plant and Chevron Corp.’s Pascagoula site in Mississippi are expected to complete planned work this week.

The 600,000-barrel-a-day Port Arthur refinery shut production units for 38 days of scheduled work beginning Feb. 14, two people familiar with operations said. The Pascagoula plant, which has a capacity of 330,000 barrels, is expected to restart a coker this week, according to a person familiar.

Reformulated, 84-octane gasoline to be blended with ethanol, or RBOB, dropped 3.5 cents to 7 cents a gallon below futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 4:10 p.m, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The discount shrank to 3.5 cents on March 22, the smallest gap since Feb. 27. Conventional gasoline to be blended with ethanol dropped 1.5 cents to 32.5 cents under futures.

Gasoline supplies on the Gulf Coast, referred to as PADD 3, were 72.1 million barrels in the week ended March 15, Energy Information Administration data show. Refineries processed about 7.39 million barrels a day of crude and other feedstock, up 138,000 barrels from the previous week.

“The sharp increase in refinery utilization rates likely portend continued deterioration in refined product cracks,” according to a research note from Energy Analytics Group Ltd.

The 3-2-1 crack spread on the Gulf, a measure of refining profitability based on West Texas Intermediate in Cushing, Oklahoma, slipped 16 cents to $27.45 a barrel, the lowest level since Feb. 1, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The same spread for Light Louisiana Sweet oil declined $2.16 to $7.45 a barrel, the first drop in four days.

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