Chicago Gasoline Premium Swells After Refinery Shuts Unit

The premium for Chicago gasoline rose to the highest level in more than 11 weeks after the second-largest refinery in the U.S. Midwest shut a unit.

The 356,000-barrel-a-day Wood River, Illinois, plant, operated by Phillips 66, idled a vacuum distillation unit yesterday, according to a report by Genscape Inc. Decreased furnace activity and cooling were detected on the 105,000-barrel-a-day VDU, the Louisville, Kentucky-based energy data provider said.

Rich Johnson, a Houston-based spokesman for Phillips 66, declined to comment on day-to-day operations.

Conventional, 85-octane gasoline, or CBOB, in Chicago strengthened 2.5 cents to 9.5 cents a gallon above futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 12:41 p.m., the highest level since June 12, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Ultra-low-sulfur diesel gained 0.25 cent to a discount of 0.75 cent below Nymex ULSD futures.

The Wood River refinery receives Canadian and domestic crudes and in large part produces transportation fuels including gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, Phillips said on its website.

The 3-2-1 crack spread in Chicago, a rough measure of refining margins based on West Texas Intermediate oil in Cushing, Oklahoma, gained 64 cents to $20.42 a barrel, a fourth consecutive advance, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The same spread in Group 3 rose 4 cents to $21.81 a barrel. Conventional, 87-octane gasoline in the midcontinent region climbed 2.75 cents to 1 cent a gallon above Nymex futures. It’s the first day the region has traded above futures since June 12.

Group 3 encompasses the area north of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Minnesota and North Dakota.

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