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Refinery outage turns around sliding US Gulf Coast gasoline differentials


US Gulf Coast gasoline differentials showed gains Friday for the first time this week on news of a refinery power outage.

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Gulf Coast CBOB was heard trading as high as the NYMEX September RBOB futures contract minus 15 cents/gal, compared with the Platts assessment of September RBOB minus 17.75 cents/gal Thursday. USGC conventional 87 gasoline rose 1.75 cents to minus 4.50 cents/gal, where it last traded.

Until Friday's turnaround, differentials for CBOB had slumped nearly 10 cents and conventional 87 tumbled 7.25 cents so far this week due to high stocks and production, a slowdown in exports, and a backwardated market that encouraged selling into the end of the summer driving season.

But many sources said a power outage at Phillip 66's 247,000 b/d Alliance refinery in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, turned the gasoline market around.

"The market is up and [Alliance] is only reason I can see minus 5 cents/gal value," one trader said.

Phillips 66 was not immediately available for comment Friday. But sources said the refinery lost power late Thursday, and while it appeared back up Friday, it was not likely to return to full capacity for a week.

--Matthew Kohlman,
--Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,