Chicago Gasoline Falls as Marathon Canton Starts Units

Chicago gasoline weakened for the first time in three days after Marathon Petroleum Corp. began starting units at its Canton, Ohio, refinery following planned maintenance. Crack spreads narrowed.

The 84,500-barrel-a-day Ohio plant is bringing units online after a turnaround that began last month, according to Shane Pochard, a company spokesman based in Findlay, Ohio. The refinery shut a fluid catalytic cracker and crude unit, and put the plant on standby for 30 days, he said.

Restart of the units may increase Midwest production and add to the area’s supplies, which the Energy Information Administration reported at 53.5 million barrels in the week ended March 29. BP Plc’s Whiting, Indiana, refinery and Phillips 66’s Wood River, Illinois, plant, the biggest in the Midwest, are both conducting planned maintenance.

Conventional, 85-octane gasoline in Chicago, or CBOB, weakened 0.25 cent to 23.5 cents a gallon below futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:35 p.m. Ultra-low-sulfur diesel gained 0.25 cent to a premium of 8.5 cents a gallon.

While some refineries seem to be coming out of turnarounds early, the Midwest, or PADD 2, region is “just getting started,” said Carl Larry, a broker with Atlas Commodities LLC in Houston.

Northern Tier Energy LLC’s St. Paul Park refinery in Minnesota plans plans to begin a turnaround this month that will include the expansion of a No. 2 crude unit, while Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Joliet, Illinois, refinery, is expected to start a plant-wide shutdown that will last about five weeks. The refineries have a combined capacity of about 312,000 barrels a day.

The 3-2-1 crack spread in Chicago, a rough measure of refining margins based on West Texas Intermediate in Cushing, Oklahoma, dropped 6 cents to $24.04 a barrel. The same spread on the Gulf Coast fell 7 cents to $23.82. Based on Light Louisiana Sweet oil, Gulf refinery margins sank 62 cents to $9.77.

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