U.S. Gulf Gasoline Slides as Valero Meraux Returns After Upset

U.S. Gulf Coast gasoline slipped for a third consecutive day as Valero Energy Corp. planned to return a Louisiana refinery to full rates.

Conventional, 85-octane gasoline, or CBOB, on the Gulf weakened 0.75 cent to 21 cents a gallon below futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 3:58 p.m., the lowest in almost a week, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Conventional, 87-octane gasoline also slipped 0.75 cent to a discount of 20.75 cents a gallon to futures.

Valero said it expects its Meraux, Louisiana, refinery to return to planned rates within the next two days. It’s currently putting crude oil into a unit that had a release during maintenance, according to the company. Meraux, which produces mostly gasoline and distillate fuel, has a capacity of about 135,000 barrels a day.

The company also reported the startup of a heavy oil cracker power recovery unit at its Corpus Christi West refinery in Texas. Phillips 66’s Borger, Texas, site and Exxon Mobil Corp.’s Baton Rouge plant are expected to complete maintenance and boost output this month.

The 3-2-1 crack spread in the area, a measure of refining margins for gasoline and diesel based on West Texas Intermediate oil in Cushing, Oklahoma, slipped 31 cents to $9.70 a barrel. The same spread based on Light Louisiana Sweet oil, the Gulf Coast benchmark, dropped 36 cents to $7.55 a barrel, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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