Gulf Coast Gasoline Weakens as Outlets to U.S. Midwest Dry Up

Gulf Coast gasoline on the spot market weakened as prices in Chicago plunged after refineries returned to service, reducing the incentive to ship products north from the U.S. refining center.

Conventional, 87-octane gasoline on the Gulf Coast weakened by 4.38 cents to 11 cents a gallon below futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 1:39 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The discount for 85-octane conventional blendstock for oxygenate blending on the coast widened 3.75 cents to 15.5 cents a gallon.

Discounts narrowed last week after supply shortages in the Chicago area pushed prices there to a record premium on June 3. Chicago prices fell to a discount on June 14 after Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Joliet, Illinois, refinery returned to service after planned maintenance.

Shipments to the Midwest were “certainly supporting” Gulf Coast gasoline prices, said Steve Mosby, vice president of supply consultant ADMO Energy LLC in Kansas City, Missouri. “When you lose that support, it certainly leaves the Gulf Coast basis vulnerable for further decline.”

BP Plc has said it will restart by the end of this month its Whiting, Indiana, refinery’s Pipestill 12, which has been shut since November to convert it into a processor of mostly heavy Canadian crude oil.

Gasoline inventories on the Gulf Coast fell 1.9 percent to 75.6 million barrels in the week ending June 7. Supplies in the region were still at the highest point for this time of year in EIA weekly data back to 1990.

CBOB in Chicago weakened 1 cent to a 13.5-cents-a-gallon discount to Nymex futures today.

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