US Gulf gasoline spot prices weaken versus NYMEX

03 February 2011 20:42  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Spot prices for US Gulf refined products weakened slightly versus NMEX futures as inventories rose and turnarounds began, market sources said on Thursday.

In mid January, US Gulf unleaded gasoline was at a discount of 5.00-6.00 cents/gal to NYMEX gasoline futures. Prices this week were at a discount of 7.00-9.00 cents/gal.

Gasoline stocks were 8.1m bbl higher than the same time last year, hitting 236.2m bbl for the week ended 28 January. Distillate fuel oil stocks were 7.5m bbl higher at 164.1m bbl.

As a result of strong stock builds, the market has not been lacking in available product.

The naphtha spot market strengthened slightly on scarce supply as crude units shut down for turnarounds and on scant cargoes from Europe. Vacuum gas oil (VGO) also strengthened slightly on refiners purchasing product to feed fluid catalytic crackers while crude units were out.

The primary turnarounds in process are:

  • Shell Oil began a turnaround at its Deer Park refinery in Texas on 25 January, the company reported. Sources said the hydrocracker and coker would be out of service for four weeks.
  • Valero began on 2 February a 51-day turnaround of a fluid catalytic cracker and crude distillation unit, which have a combined capacity of 100,000 bbl/day, at its Port Arthur refinery in Texas. Associated units were running at reduced rates.
  • Valero reported the start of a turnaround on a crude unit at its 83,000 bbl/day Houston refinery in Texas on 1 February, according to market sources. The unit is 90,000 bbl/day and should be down for 24 days.
  • ConocoPhillips began turnaround on 3 February of its 247,000 bbl/day Belle Chase refinery in Louisiana, according to market sources. There were no details on the restart date or the units affected.
  • BP reported that its Texas City refinery in Texas had shut a fluid catalytic cracker and crude distillation unit until late February or early March.
  • ExxonMobil reported that its Torrance refinery in California had shut down a hydrocracker, a saturated gas plant and a hydrogen unit for turnaround on 1 February. There was no restart date provided.

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By: Sheena Martin
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