Rumor - 2 U.S. West Coast refineries (Arco, Exxon) malfunction? Fuel prices up sharply : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Saturday, February 19, 2000, Last updated: 00:29 EST

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U.S. West Coast fuel prices rise sharply on rumors


U.S. West Coast fuel prices shot up in late trade on Friday on rumors of two refinery malfunctions and on higher benchmark oil prices, traders said.

Neither rumored glitch could be confirmed, but sudden buying interest by refiners propped up gasoline prices by about 7 cents from Thursday.

California's ultra-clean CARB gasoline in Los Angeles rose to about 98.50/99 cents a gallon for February delivery and traded at between 99 and 99.50 cents for March. San Francisco prices were reportedly even with Los Angeles.

"Gas has been going nuts. We suspected something was going on the Exxon because they've been snooping around for product. We're hearing something may have happened to Arco's hydrocracker," one West Coast oil product trader said.

An Exxon spokeswoman had no comment on rumor that the fluid catalytic cracker might be down for several days at its 128,000 barrel per day (bpd) Benicia refinery. A local fire captain said there was no fire at the facility, as some traders had rumored.

Another rumor in the market was that Arco had not yet restarted its 43,000 bpd hydrocracker at its Carson, Calif., refinery. Sources said that Chevron had not yet restarted its hydrocracker after its Richmond refinery after a fire there last March.

Diesel prices also rose a cent in California, to about 88/89 for ultra-clean CARB diesel in Los Angeles.

Northwest prices rose 2 cents to 85/86 cents a gallon in the Portland market for regular gasoline. Diesel prices jumped 4 cents to about 89.50 cents a gallon.

Retail prices were reportedly about $1.47 a gallon in Northern California and about $1.40 in Southern California. Prices at the pump, despite high oil prices, have trailed the up to $1.80 a gallon motorists saw after a spate of refinery accidents last summer. Source: Canoe, Canada

-- Lee Maloney (, February 22, 2000

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