Los Angeles Gasoline Jumps to 12-Week High After Plant Breakdown

Gasoline on the spot market in Los Angeles surged to the highest level since June after Exxon Mobil Corp. reported a breakdown at the Torrance refinery.

California-blend, or Carbob, gasoline in Los Angeles strengthened by 14.5 cents to a premium of 51 cents a barrel more than futures traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:20 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s the highest level since June 20.

Exxon began flaring gases related to an upset at the 150,000-barrel-a-day Southern California plant at 10:45 a.m. local time, according to a filing with the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Gesuina Paras, a Torrance-based spokeswoman for the company, did not immediately have information on the breakdown.

“Even if there were barrels available in the Northwest, getting them down to L.A. is hard because there aren’t any spare barges and tankers to move product around,” said Dave Hackett, president of Stillwater Associates, a consultant in Irvine, California. “They’ve all gone to the Gulf Coast to move Eagle Ford crude from Corpus Christi to Houston, Lake Charles and New Orleans.”

Valero Energy Corp.’s refinery in Benicia is working to repair an air blower that malfunctioned, causing the refinery to shut a fluid catalytic cracker on Sept. 6, Bill Day, a San Antonio-based spokesman for the company, said by e-mail.

San Francisco

Carbob in San Francisco strengthened by 8.5 cents to a premium of 57.5 cents a barrel versus futures, the highest level since Oct. 5. Conventional, 84-octane gasoline in Portland, Oregon, slid 3 cents to a 21-cent-a-gallon premium.

California-blend diesel in Los Angeles weakened by 0.5 cent to a 2.75-cent-a-gallon premium to ultra-low-sulfur diesel futures on the Nymex. The fuel in San Francisco weakened by 0.5 cent to a premium of 6.5 cents.

California-blend diesel supplies surged by 34 percent to 2.47 million barrels last week, the California Energy Commission reported yesterday.

Low-sulfur diesel in Portland was unchanged at 1.25 cents a gallon more than New York futures.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.