May 29th, 2012

Gasoline futures rose on the possibility that Petroplus Holdings AG will shut its 175,000-barrel-a-day Coryton oil refinery in the U.K., reducing European exports to the U.S.

Unleaded gas futures gained after Steven Pearson, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Petroplus’s U.K. administrator, said by phone today from the site in southeast England that crude supply at the plant will run out sometime next week. Coryton would be the sixth European refinery to stop production since the start of 2011.

“You’re seeing the effect of the Coryton refinery shutting down,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston. “That would require the U.K. to import additional supplies of gasoline and there would be less for exporting.”

Gasoline futures for June delivery increased 3.37 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $2.9266 a gallon at 9:28 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the third consecutive increase. The price has dropped 8.4 percent in May.

U.S. gasoline imports fell 15 percent to an average 575,000 barrels a day in the week ended May 18, according to Energy Department data.

Coryton was one of five refineries in Europe operated by Petroplus until the Swiss refiner filed for insolvency in January. Its plants in Germany, France, Belgium and Switzerland were halted and two have subsequently been sold.

Heating oil futures for June-delivery rose 1.49 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $2.8437 a gallon. Prices have fallen 11 percent in May.

Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, fell 0.5 cent to $3.636 a gallon yesterday, according to AAA. It was the lowest level since Feb. 22. Gasoline is down 7.6 percent since reaching a 2012 high of $3.936 on April 4.

- Barbara J Powell in Dallas at Bloomberg.