Gulf Fuels Strengthen as Citgo Shuts Corpus Christi Unit

U.S. Gulf Coast fuels strengthened after Citgo Petroleum Corp. shut a fluid catalytic cracker at the Corpus Christi East refinery in Texas and two plants began planned maintenance.

The No. 2 FCC at the Corpus Christi refinery was halted today following a leak on the unit’s power train, according to a filing with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Valero Energy Corp. and Phillips 66 began scheduled work at plants in Texas. Valero expects a five-week turnaround on the 108,000-barrel-a-day No. 2 crude unit at the McKee refinery, while Phillips 66 carries out unspecified work at the Borger plant, the companies said today.

The discount for reformulated, 84-octane gasoline, or RBOB, in the Gulf narrowed 1.25 cents to 4.75 cents a gallon versus futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:27 p.m. Conventional gasoline strengthened 0.38 cent a gallon to a discount of 19.75 cents. Ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel strengthened 0.13 cent to 0.75 cent a gallon below futures.

The Corpus Christi, McKee and Borger refineries have the ability to process 481,000 barrels a day, or 5.3 percent of Gulf Coast capacity, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Work at the sites may shrink regional gasoline supplies, which totaled 73.4 million barrels in the week ended March 22, according to the Energy Information Administration. Distillate stockpiles were 35.1 million barrels, the Energy Department’s statistical arm said.

Crack Spreads

The 3-2-1 crack spread on the Gulf, a measure of refining profitability based on West Texas Intermediate in Cushing, Oklahoma, widened 68 cents to $27.44 a barrel. The same spread based on Light Louisiana Sweet oil shrank by 57 cents to $10.45.

The spread for refineries in New York Harbor, based on Brent oil in Europe, declined 16 cents to $13.41 a barrel, the lowest level since March 7, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The discount for reformulated, 84-octane gasoline in the region widened 0.5 cent to 24.75 cents a gallon versus futures.

Gasoline in the New York Harbor traded 20.24 cents a gallon below the same fuel on the U.S. Gulf Coast, compared with 12 cents a gallon a week ago.

CME Group Inc.’s heating oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was renamed ultra-low-sulfur-diesel futures following the expiration last week of the April contract, the last to reflect higher-sulfur fuel.

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