Bloomberg News

U.S. Gulf Crude Premiums Weaken After WTI-Brent Gap Narrows

October 17, 2011

Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- The premiums for U.S. Gulf Coast oils weakened as West Texas Intermediate crude’s discount to Brent oil narrowed on speculation that there won’t be a quick end to the European debt crisis.

The gap between WTI and Brent December contracts weakened $1.69 to $23.54 a barrel based on settlement prices on the New York Mercantile Exchange and the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The spread for prompt month contracts settled at a record $27.88 a barrel Oct. 14.

Brent fell as Steffen Seibert, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief spokesman, said European Union leaders won’t provide the speedy conclusion to the debt crisis that policy makers are pushing for at an Oct. 23 summit.

When Brent decreases versus WTI, it weakens the value of low-sulfur U.S. grades that compete with West African oil priced against the European benchmark.

Heavy Louisiana Sweet’s premium to WTI narrowed 90 cents to $27.60 a barrel while Light Louisiana Sweet lost 90 cents to $27.50 above the U.S. benchmark.

Among sour, or high-sulfur, grades, the premium for Mars Blend decreased $1.50 to $23.25 a barrel and Poseidon lost 90 cents to $23.10 a barrel over WTI.

Southern Green Canyon’s premium weakened 75 cents to $23.25 a barrel and West Texas Sour’s discount was steady at 70 cents a barrel. Thunder Horse’s premium decreased $1.15 to $25.25 above the benchmark.

The discount for Western Canada Select narrowed 60 cents a barrel to $10.15 below the price for WTI.

Syncrude’s premium to WTI was unchanged at $8.80 a barrel. Syncrude is a light, low-sulfur synthetic oil derived from the tar sands in Alberta.

--With assistance from Rob Verdonck in London and Rita Nazareth in New York. Editors: Margot Habiby, Dan Stets

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Clark in New York at aclark27@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net


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