Los Angeles Gasoline Rises to 10-Week High on Planned Exxon Shut

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles surged to a 10-week high against futures as Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Torrance refinery prepared to shut units for maintenance and Valero Energy Corp.’s Wilmington plant had an upset at its fluid catalytic cracker.

The 150,000-barrel-a-day Torrance refinery will start closing units tomorrow for work that’s expected to last “several weeks,” Gesuina Paras, a spokeswoman at the plant, said in an e-mail today. Maintenance is planned on a crude unit, an alkylation unit, hydrogen plant, coker and catalytic hydrodesulfurization unit, a person familiar with the schedule said March 5.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles jumped 9.5 cents to a premium of 24.5 cents a gallon versus futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:07 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the highest level since Feb. 20.

The same fuel in San Francisco advanced 9.5 cents to 25.5 cents a gallon above futures.

Carbob stockpiles are at a record low for this time of year, data compiled by the state Energy Commission show. Supplies tumbled 14 percent last week to 4.5 million barrels, the lowest since May, as refinery maintenance and unplanned shutdowns cut into inventories.

Valero Unit

Valero’s 78,000-barrel-a-day Wilmington plant was starting its fluid catalytic cracker today after an upset yesterday in a pump associated with the unit, Bill Day, a spokesman for the company, said at its annual meeting in San Antonio.

San Francisco’s premium to Los Angeles was unchanged at 1 cent a gallon, the narrowest level since March 21.

Conventional gasoline in Portland, Oregon, gained 3.5 cents versus Nymex futures to a premium of 37.5 cents a gallon, the highest level since October.

Gasoline supplies in the West, the PADD 5 region, fell for a 12th straight week to 25.9 million barrels in the seven days ended April 26, the least since Aug. 10 and a seasonal low in data going back to 1990, the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, said yesterday.

Low-sulfur diesel in Portland was unchanged at a premium of 3 cents a gallon against ultra-low-sulfur diesel futures on the Nymex.

California-blend, or CARB, diesel in San Francisco was unchanged at 6.75 cents a gallon below ULSD futures. The same fuel in Los Angeles held at a discount of 3.63 cents a gallon versus futures.

CARB diesel supplies fell 3.4 percent to 25.9 million barrels last week, the state said. Distillate fuel oil stockpiles on the West Coast climbed a fourth week to 12.4 million barrels, according to the EIA.

The 3-2-1 crack spread of Alaska North Slope crude, Carbob in Los Angeles and CARB diesel in Los Angeles widened a third day, jumping $3.55 to $19.53 a barrel at 3:15 p.m. New York time. The spread, a rough indicator of refinery margins, is at the highest level in a month.