Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Gasoline rose for the first time in four days as unplanned refinery shutdowns may reduce supply of the motor fuel as plants begin fall maintenance.
Futures gained 1.4 percent as BP Plc said it shut the sulfur recovery complex at its Toledo, Ohio, refinery after a breakdown. Valero Energy Corp.’s Memphis refinery is running its fluid catalytic cracker at reduced rates while a sulfur unit is shut, a person familiar with operations said.
“People are seeing these refinery headlines and trading on the expectation for inventories to decline,” said Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York. “We’re due to have a cycle of refinery maintenance and that might help to keep a floor under prices.”
Gasoline for October delivery rose 3.62 cents to settle at $2.6592 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading volume was 17 percent above the 100-day average at 3:08 p.m. Prices are down 5.4 percent this year and 3.4 percent in the third quarter.
The motor fuel’s crack spread versus West Texas Intermediate crude widened $1.80 to $8.04 a barrel. The fuel’s premium over Brent gained 86 cents to $2.53.
Pump prices, averaged nationwide, fell 1.1 cents to $3.461 a gallon, 34.7 cents below a year ago, Heathrow, Florida-based AAA said today on its website.
Ultra-low sulfur diesel lagged behind gasoline as gasoil sank for a third straight day, reducing the incentive for the U.S. to export the fuel to Europe.
Gasoil fell 0.8 percent on the London ICE futures exchange on speculation that new refinery capacity in Saudi Arabia and Asia will increase global distillate inventories.
Saudi Arabian Oil Co. may offer the first cargoes of gasoline and diesel in October from a new refinery, according to two people with knowledge of the situation on Sept. 11. The refinery, at the Persian Gulf port of Jubail, is a joint venture with Total SA.
“The impression is that because of new refining capacity, there will be more than ample supplies in Europe,” said Amrita Sen, chief oil market strategist at Energy Aspects Ltd., a research company in London.
Ultra-low-sulfur diesel for October delivery rose 0.48 cent to settle at $2.961 a gallon on trading volume that was 35 percent above the 100-day average. Futures have dropped 2.8 percent this year and are up 2.8 percent in the third quarter.
ULSD’s crack spread versus WTI widened 62 cents to $21.21 a barrel. The premium over Brent narrowed 32 cents to $15.70.
--Editors: David Marino, Margot Habiby