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Call me cynical

That burning refinery stench? Smells like an Enronning to me.

Retail prices began to skyrocket after Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)’s 150,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Torrance, near Los Angeles, reduced production Oct. 1 after a power failure. That followed a fire that knocked out a crude-processing unit at Chevron Corp. (CVX)’s plant in Richmond, near San Francisco, in August and the shutdown of a Chevron pipeline that delivers crude to Northern California because of contamination.

Phillips 66 (PSX), based in Houston, delayed the maintenance shutdown of a unit known as a hydrocracker at its 139,000- barrel-a-day Los Angeles refinery for at least a week to cash in on record refinery margins in California, two people with knowledge of the schedule said Oct. 5. The six-week upkeep procedure is now scheduled to begin Oct. 16, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.