Gulf Gasoline at 1-Month High on Petrobas Export Outlook

U.S. Gulf Coast gasoline strengthened to the narrowest discount in two months relative to New York futures after Petroleo Brasileiro SA said it expects imports to rise because of refinery work in Brazil.

Conventional, 87-octane gasoline gained 1.75 cents to 10.5 cents below New York Mercantile Exchange futures at 12:18 p.m., the smallest differential since June 14. Conventional, 85-octane gasoline, or CBOB, increased by 0.5 cent to a discount of 20.25 cents a gallon against futures.

Spot prices rose after Petrobas said gasoline imports would rise in the second half of the year after falling to 81,000 barrels a day in the second quarter. The company said today on an earnings call that it’s scheduled to carry out maintenance at the Gabriel Passos refinery and Henrique Lage plant, both in Brazil, in the later half of 2013.

The two plants have a combined capacity of 403,000 barrels a day, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The U.S. exported 3.1 million barrels of oil products to Brazil in May, the latest month for which data is available, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Ultra-low-sulfur diesel on the Gulf Coast was unchanged at a discount of 3.63 cents a gallon versus futures. The 3-2-1 crack spread on the Gulf, a rough measure of refining margins for gasoline and diesel based on West Texas Intermediate oil in Cushing, Oklahoma, widened 55 cents to $11.60 a barrel while the same spread based on Light Louisiana Sweet oil widened by 10 cents to $6.35.

Valero Energy Corp. is returning units to planned rates at the St. Charles, Louisiana, refinery following a power failure on Aug. 9, while Phillips 66 completed planned work at the Borger, Texas, refinery.

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