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Valero Suffers Refinery Problems

LOS ANGELES -- Valero Energy Corp., operator of 80 convenience stores in California, appears to be having problems with a fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) at its Wilmington refinery near Los Angeles, causing wholesale gasoline prices in California to spike higher, West Coast traders of refined petroleum products said yesterday.

"Valero has lost an FCC in Los Angeles and has been buying gasoline," a trader told the Associated Press.

Officials at Valero could not be reached immediately for comment. The company's Wilmington refinery has the capacity to process 78,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Traders said spot wholesale prices for California's clean-burning CARB gasoline blend jumped to around 88 cents per gallon in Los Angeles, a gain of about six cents over Tuesday.
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