Houston — US Midwest gasoline prices shot up Friday as market sources said inventories in the region are drying up.
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Active trading early in the day pushed the assessed cash differential for Chicago CBOB up 11 cents to the NYMEX November RBOB futures contract plus 33 cents/gal. Offers as high as futures plus 36 cents/gal were heard in the afternoon.
Chicago RBOB was heard done at NYMEX plus 46 cents/gal, up 9 cents from Thursday's assessment.
The Group 3 V-grade jumped 3 cents to NYMEX October RBOB futures plus 11.75 cents/gal, with bids as high as futures plus 12 cents/gal heard afterward.
There were no Midwest participants in the Platts Market on Close assessment process Friday.
"I think inventories are getting low," one Midwest trader said.
Data released this week by the US Energy Information Administration backed that up, showing total Midwest gasoline stocks falling 434,000 barrels to 47.53 million barrels for the week ended September 18. CBOB stocks fell 1.07 million barrels to 28.47 million barrels.
The EIA said Midwest refinery utilization rates dropped 6.2 percentage points to 92.1%, while crude runs fell 235,000 b/d to 3.54 million b/d. "It's just got a lot of little problems keeping refiners off the offer," a second source said. "Phillips 66 and Marathon have been steady bids and I hear Whiting rumors."
BP's 413,000 b/d Whiting, Indiana, refinery shut a 75,000 b/d crude distillation unit on Thursday for planned work, according to IIR Energy.
"Word is that work on one of the smaller units is expected to wrap up soon," a third source said. "And the infamous Pipestill 12 is going to go down for those comprehensive repairs that were delayed by a temporary fix."