US WCoast Products - Gasoline slide slowed by BP rumors

HOUSTON, March 6 Wed Mar 6, 2013 9:51pm EST

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HOUSTON, March 6 (Reuters) - Rumors on Wednesday among West Coast refined products market traders about a failed restart attempt of a gasoline unit at BP Plc's 240,000 barrel per day (bpd) L.A.-area refinery reduced a decline in California gasoline differentials by nearly 5 cents a gallon, said market insiders.

The restart of a 102,500 barrel per day (bpd) gasoline-producing fluidic catalytic cracking unit at BP's Carson, California, refinery was proceeding slowly, sources familiar with operations at the refinery said.

"The start-up seems to be going well," one of the sources said. "It's going pretty well, but not without the usual bumps one expects in a restart."

March-delivery CARBOB gasoline finished down 4.5 cents a gallon at a 9-cent-a-gallon discount to the price for the April contract for RBOB gasoline on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

During trading on Wednesday, California gasoline was discounted by as much as 14.5 cents a gallon under April NYMEX RBOB, down 9 cents a gallon from Tuesday's close.

On Wednesday, BP filed a notice to extend planned flaring at the Carson refinery for three more days to March 15, the second extension in two weeks.

A BP spokesman declined to discuss refinery operations.

The sources said the new flare notice was related to the restart of the FCC and a related alkylation unit, which converts refining byproducts into octane-boosting additives.

The overhaul began on Jan. 7 and was scheduled to take six weeks to complete. The work was extended by another two weeks before BP began preparing to restart.

March CARBOB in the San Francisco Bay market finished unchanged at 17 cents a gallon under April NYMEX RBOB.

In the Portland, Oregon, market, gasoline fell 3.5 cents a gallon to 5 cents under April NYMEX RBOB.

March CARB diesel rose 1.5 cents a gallon to 11.5 cents a gallon over April NYMEX heating oil in L.A.

Diesel in Portland was valued at 14 cents a gallon over April heating oil.

March jet fuel in L.A. fell 1.75 cents to 10.75 cents a gallon over April NYMEX heating oil.

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