California Gasoline Slumps on May Trading, Refinery Startups

Spot gasoline in California fell a third day against futures after the prompt-month contract rolled into May and Phillips 66’s Rodeo refinery was said to have restored production at a hydrocracker.

The hydrocracker at the 76,000-barrel-a-day Rodeo plant near San Francisco began producing fuel yesterday after more than a week of pump repairs, a person familiar with operations at the refinery said. The unit had been scheduled to restart April 18 and was shut longer for additional work, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

Tesoro Corp.’s Golden Eagle refinery finished “brief” maintenance over the weekend and reported a unit startup April 21, Tina Barbee, a spokeswoman at the company’s headquarters in San Antonio, said by e-mail yesterday. Chevron Corp.’s Richmond plant is scheduled to return its crude unit to service by the end of the month.

The contract for California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in San Francisco fell 2 cents to a premium of 21 cents a gallon above June gasoline futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1:48 p.m. New York time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The fuel rolled into May today and previously traded against May gasoline futures.

May Carbob in Los Angeles, which also became the front month today, declined 2 cents against June futures to a premium of 6 cents a gallon.

Diesel Slides

The May contract for California-blend, or CARB, diesel in San Francisco slid 3 cents against June ultra-low-sulfur diesel futures on the Nymex to a discount of 3.5 cents a gallon, the lowest level for the fuel since Jan. 11.

CARB diesel in Los Angeles, which rolled into May yesterday, fell 0.5 cent to a discount of 1 cent a gallon below ULSD futures.

In Portland, Oregon, gasoline weakened 1.5 cents to a premium of 3.75 cents a gallon against futures. Diesel there dropped 2.25 cents to a premium of 0.75 cent a gallon versus ULSD futures.

The 3-2-1 crack spread of Alaska North Slope crude, Carbob in Los Angeles and CARB diesel in Los Angeles declined for the third straight day, falling $1.56 to $16.53 a barrel. The spread, a rough indicator of refinery margins, is the narrowest in almost two weeks and down 43 percent from this year’s high of $29.09 a barrel on Feb. 5.

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