Los Angeles Gasoline Gains as Exxon Said at Lower Rates

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles strengthened for the first time in four days as Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Torrance refinery was said to be running at about 66 percent capacity as the crude unit prepares to restart.

The 150,000-barrel-a-day Torrance plant in Southern California is waiting to return parts of the crude unit, shut since June 19, to service and will run at reduced rates until the equipment is restarted, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The unit, shut last week to repair a metallurgical issue, is expected to take about two days to return, the person said.

California-blend gasoline, or Carbob, in Los Angeles, rose 0.5 cent to a premium of 20 cents a gallon over futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, according to data compiled by Bloomberg at 4:11 p.m. New York time. Prompt-delivery of the fuel climbed 0.27 cent to $2.9248 a gallon.

Gesuina Paras, an Exxon spokeswoman at the Torrance refinery, declined by e-mail today to comment on the status of the crude unit work. She said June 20 that other equipment at the refinery would run at reduced rates during the repairs.

Tesoro Corp.’s 266,000-barrel-a-day Carson refinery in Southern California was running normally yesterday after planned maintenance, Tina Barbee, a spokeswoman at the company’s headquarters, said by e-mail.

Carbob in San Francisco tumbled 7 cents to a premium of 8.5 cents a gallon, the lowest level in almost three weeks. The discount for Carbob in San Francisco versus the fuel in Los Angeles widened 7.5 cents to 11.5 cents a gallon.

Chevron Richmond

Chevron Corp. started a co-generation plant at the 240,000-barrel-a-day Richmond refinery in Northern California yesterday, a notice to Contra Costa County regulators shows.

Tesoro’s 170,000-barrel-a-day Golden Eagle refinery near San Francisco also reported a unit startup June 23, a separate notice to the county shows. The plant was operating normally today, Barbee said.

Retail gasoline in California slipped 0.4 cent to $4.063 a gallon, Heathrow, Florida-based AAA, the nation’s largest motoring organization, said today on its website. Prices are up from $3.845 a year ago.

The number of Californians traveling at least 50 miles for the July 4 holiday is expected to decline to about 4.7 million this year, a 0.7 percent drop from a year earlier, according to AAA Northern California.

The premium for spot, conventional gasoline in Portland, Oregon, was unchanged at a premium of 15 cents a gallon. Portland gasoline’s discount to Los Angeles Carbob widened 0.5 cent to 5 cents a gallon.

The 3-2-1 crack spread of Alaska North Slope crude, Carbob in Los Angeles and CARB diesel in Los Angeles narrowed a fourth day, losing 17 cents to $17.43 a barrel at 4:13 p.m. New York time. The spread, a rough indicator of short-term refining margins, is down 47 percent from this year’s high of $32.74 a gallon reached on June 19.

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