Gulf Fuels Weaken Versus Futures as Motiva Starts Unit

Spot gasoline and diesel fuel on the U.S. Gulf Coast weakened as Motiva Enterprises LLC was said to start a crude unit and exports of diesel were poised to drop.

Motiva is starting a crude unit at its 600,000-barrel-a-day Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, and has resumed operations at a delayed coker, according to two people familiar with operations. The crude unit, the smallest of three at the refinery, and coker were shut in mid-February, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

Diesel shipments to Europe from the U.S. Gulf Coast were forecast to fall to six medium-range tankers in the two weeks to April 17, according to the median estimate in a survey of six shipbrokers who specialize in the trade. That’s a six-week low and decline of three from the earlier time period. Supplies of distillate on the Gulf were 35.5 million barrels in the week ended April 3, Energy Information Administration data show.

Conventional, 85-octane gasoline to be blended with ethanol, or CBOB, on the Gulf weakened 0.62 cent to 24.25 cents a gallon below futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:33 p.m., the first decline in a week, Bloomberg data show. Ultra-low-sulfur diesel in the region fell 0.2 cent to a premium of 0.3 cent a gallon.

The 3-2-1 crack spread on the Gulf, a rough measure of refining margins based on West Texas Intermediate in Cushing, Oklahoma, dropped $2.31 to $21.81 a barrel. The same spread based on Light Louisiana Sweet oil fell $3.06 to $7.06 a barrel, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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