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California gasoline grades pop on refinery issues, Mexico demand

Houston (Platts)--9 Feb 2017 530 pm EST/2230 GMT


Spot prices for CARBOB gasoline rose 5 cents/gal Thursday in San Francisco and 3 cents in Los Angeles on a combination of refinery issues, demand from Mexico, and data showing production declines in California.

Los Angeles CARBOB traded at least five times for more than 125,000 barrels Thursday morning, lastly at NYMEX March RBOB futures plus 22 cents/gal, up 3 cents day on day and 7.50 cents so far this month. San Francisco was talked 5 cents higher to plus 15 cents/gal, which is up 11 cents in February.

Los Angeles CARBOB has been steadily gaining on talk of issues at Chevron's 269,000 b/d El Segundo refinery. Sources cited a crude unit and alkylation unit down, but did not know the timing for a restart.

A Chevron spokesman did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

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One market source said the San Francisco Bay area was moving in sympathy with Los Angeles, but also because of demand from Mexico. "It's typical logistics, Bay to Mexico," he said.

Two ships capable of carrying 47,000 mt of product, the Maersk Miyajima and Eagle Milan, were going up empty from Mexico, according to cFlow, Platts' trade-flow software. The ships are expected to load gasoline for western Mexico.

Production of CARBOB, the most commonly used grade in California, fell 2.5% week on week in the week ended February 3, according to California Energy Commission data released Thursday.

CARBOB production at California refineries decreased to 6.25 million barrels from 6.41 million barrels in the prior week and 6.53 million barrels in the same week a year ago.

California CARBOB refinery stocks rose 1.8% week on week to 6.33 million barrels, and were 3.8% higher year on year. The state's blendstocks inventory rose 1.9% week on week to 5.49 million barrels, but is down 23.7% compared with the same period a year ago.

--Matthew Kohlman, matthew.kohlman@spglobal.com

--Edited by Annie Siebert, ann.siebert@spglobal.com

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