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Oil Prices Rise on West Coast Woes

July 16, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Crude oil futures finished above $20 a barrel for the second time in three days on the New York Mercantile Exchange amid concern about new refinery problems in the important West Coast market.

Investors said cargos were being shifted to California as Chevron made heavy cash purchases because of problems at its Richmond, Calif., refinery near San Francisco.

Chevron’s 65,000 barrel-a-day gas-making unit was shut down over the weekend because of mechanical trouble. A fire in March also reduced gasoline production at the plant. The new problem means production now has been reduced by about 70 percent, Chevron said in a statement.

The California market, which is the single-busiest for consumption of cleaner-burning gasoline, has been hit by a spate of refinery problems this year that has sent prices soaring.

August crude rose 24 cents to $20.16 a barrel; August unleaded gasoline rose 2.19 cents to 61.70 cents a gallon; August heating oil rose 1 cent to 51.73 cents a gallon; August natural gas rose 3.3 cents to $2.179 for each 1,000 cubic feet.

In London, North Sea Brent Blend crude oil for delivery in August rose 9 cents to $19.03 a barrel at the International Petroleum Exchange.

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