Bloomberg News

U.S. Gulf Coast Crudes Mixed as WTI-Brent Differential Widens

March 29, 2012

U.S. Gulf Coast crudes were mixed even as the differential between Brent and West Texas Intermediate widened.

Brent’s premium over WTI, based on May futures prices, widened by 78 cents to $19.53 a barrel in New York at 2:25 p.m. When Brent increases versus WTI, it typically boosts the value of low-sulfur U.S. grades that compete with West African oil priced against the European benchmark.

The WTI-Brent spread increased on speculation the U.S. and European countries are moving closer to an agreement on a release of supplies from emergency stockpiles. Oil and gasoline prices have risen on concern that tensions over Iran’s nuclear program will curtail exports from the Middle East.

The U.S. released 30.6 million barrels of oil from the reserve in July and August as part of an International Energy Agency effort to offset the loss of production during an armed rebellion in Libya. Last year’s release was of light, low sulfur oil from storage facilities in Texas and Louisiana, and sold relative to Light Louisiana Sweet prices.

Light Louisiana Sweet’s (USCSLLSS) premium to WTI added 10 cents to $22 a barrel at 2:07 p.m. in New York, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Heavy Louisiana Sweet (USCSHLSE)’s premium lost 50 cents to $23 a barrel.

Thunder Horse’s premium to WTI sank 55 cents to $18.75 a barrel. Mars Blend (USCSMARS) was up 5 cents to $15.75 over the U.S. benchmark.

Poseidon’s premium increased 15 cents to $15, while Southern Green Canyon was unchanged at $15.75 a barrel over. West Texas Sour (USCSWTSM)’s discount widened 40 cents to $5.40 below WTI.

Western Canada Select (USCSWCAS)’s discount narrowed $3.50 to $24 a barrel. Bakken oil was unchanged at an $11 a barrel discount, and Syncrude’s discount shrank 50 cents to $4.75.

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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