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U.S. Gulf Coast Oils Weaken as Refinery Shutdowns Reduce Demand

U.S. Gulf Coast oils weakened as refinery shutdowns in advance of Tropical Storm Isaac curbed demand for the product.

Marathon Petroleum Corp., Phillips 66 and Valero Energy Corp. are shutting four plants in Louisiana that total 1.09 million barrels a day of crude-processing capacity. Isaac has shut 24 percent of U.S. production from the Gulf, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said yesterday.

The premium for Heavy Louisiana Sweet versus West Texas Intermediate narrowed $3.25 to $16.25 a barrel at 12:09 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the smallest gap since Aug. 9. Light Louisiana Sweet slid $1.65 to $17 above WTI.

Crude deliveries to NuStar Energy LP’s St. James terminal in Louisiana, which receives oil from the Gulf of Mexico by pipeline, stopped at about 4 a.m. central time today, Greg Matula, a company spokesman, said in an e-mailed response to questions today.

NuStar’s St. James and Mobile, Alabama, terminals are all scheduled to shut later today, Matula said.

The difference between Poseidon and WTI shrank by $2.60 to $12 a barrel and Mars Blend lost $2.50 to $11.90 over the U.S. benchmark. Southern Green Canyon’s premium narrowed by $1 to $13 a barrel.

Thunder Horse, a sour crude with lower sulfur content than Mars, Poseidon and Southern Green Canyon, slipped by $1.50 to trade at a premium of $15.

Syncrude’s premium was unchanged at $6 above WTI. The discount for Bakken oil from North Dakota was steady at a $3 while Western Canada Select’s discount was unchanged at $15.50.

West Texas Sour’s difference widened 60 cents to trade $5 below WTI.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harvey in New York at charvey32@bloomberg.net

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

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