Light Louisiana Sweet, the benchmark light, sweet crude on the U.S. Gulf Coast, strengthened the most in six weeks as the cost of foreign oil gained relative to the U.S. and Gulf Coast refiners increased runs.
The premium for Brent over West Texas Intermediate grew 99 cents to $9.38 a barrel.
Supplies in Cushing, Oklahoma, where WTI is priced, grew by 575,000 barrels to 49.7 million, the first increase in three weeks, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The Brent-WTI spread shrank to $7.65 on May 13 from as wide as $23.18 a barrel on Feb. 8. That narrowing had been driven by “the Cushing balance moving from a sizable surplus in late 2012 and early 2013 to a deficit in late April,” Stefan Wieler, a New York-based research analyst for Goldman Sachs (GS:US), said in a note to clients May 9.
LLS’s premium over WTI in Cushing, Oklahoma, increased $1.25 to $10.15 a barrel at 3:05 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. LLS and other Gulf crudes compete against foreign crudes priced against Brent for space in U.S. refineries.
Refiners in PADD 3, or the Gulf Coast region, increased crude runs 2.7 percent in the week ended May 10 to 8.14 million barrels a day, the highest level since Dec. 14, EIA data show.
Heavy Louisiana Sweet gained $1.10 to $9.60 a barrel more than WTI. Mars Blend strengthened by 85 cents to $5.25 a barrel more than the U.S. benchmark.
Poseidon crude’s premium increased 70 cents to $4.85 a barrel. Southern Green Canyon strengthened by 40 cents to a $3 premium, and Thunder Horse gained $1 to a $7.75-a-barrel premium.
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