TOP Oil Market News: Brent’s Premium Over WTI Crude Narrowing

The following is a selection of the most important news affecting the oil market.

WTI Oil Steady as U.S. Inventories Climb; Brent Premium Narrows

West Texas Intermediate was little changed after an Energy Information Administration report showed that U.S. inventories climbed to a seasonal high. WTI’s discount to Brent narrowed to the lowest level in six weeks.

Fracking Pushes U.S. Oil Output to Highest Level Since July 1992

U.S. oil production last week rose to the highest level since July 1992, buoyed by increased drilling in oilfields including North Dakota’s Bakken shale and the Eagle Ford in Texas.

Gasoline Futures Slide as Brent Weakens, Dollar Strengthens

Gasoline fell as Brent crude weakened versus West Texas Intermediate and the dollar strengthened, reducing the investment appeal of commodities.

Ethanol Strengthens Against Gasoline as U.S. Inventory Declines

Ethanol’s discount to gasoline narrowed to the smallest in more than a week as plant shutdowns led to a record streak of inventory declines.

U.S. Ethanol Production Declines 1% to 797,000 Barrels a Day

U.S. ethanol output fell 1 percent to 797,000 barrels a day last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

U.S. Gasoline Inventories Fall Below Average, Down 1.6%

BI RNMK NOAM KEY U.S. gasoline inventories of 224.3 million barrels fell 1.6% in the latest week. Inventories are 3.8 million barrels, or 1.7%, below year-ago levels and 1.8 million barrels (0.8%) below the five-year average. All five PADDs decreased their inventory levels during the week, led by PADD V, which had a withdrawal of 1.1 million barrels.

Gulf Coast Diesel Fuel Gains as Distillate Inventories Decline

Diesel fuel in the U.S. Gulf Coast gained for the first time in three days as distillate inventories in the region slumped to a 10-week low.

Canada’s Northwest Territories Seeks China Cash for Oil (1)

Canada’s Northwest Territories is appealing to Asian investors to boost oil and natural gas drilling after reaching an agreement with the federal government over control of resources, the region’s leader said.

Natural Gas at $4 Seen as Plants Beat Forecasts: Energy Markets

Near-record natural gas demand from electricity generators is driving prices back up toward $4 per million Btu for the first time since September 2011 even as output climbs to an all- time high for the sixth straight year.

Fisker Co-Founder Resigns After Rift With Automaker Executives

Henrik Fisker, the auto designer who co-founded luxury plug-in hybrid manufacturer Fisker Automotive Inc., said he resigned over disagreements with the company’s other executives.

Los Angeles Gasoline Premium Surges After BP Said to Cut Rates

Spot gasoline in Los Angeles jumped to a one-week high against futures after BP Plc’s Carson refinery was said to cut rates and stockpiles of the fuel in the state dropped to the least since December.

Natural Gas Supply Decline Was 85% Above Normal, Forecasts Show

Natural gas inventories dropped 85 percent more than the historical norm last week as frigid weather moved into the U.S. East, analyst forecasts compiled by Bloomberg show.

Fisker Co-Founder Quits Amid Disagreements With Executives (4)

Henrik Fisker, the auto designer who co-founded luxury plug-in hybrid manufacturer Fisker Automotive Inc., said he’s resigning over disagreements with the company’s other executives.

U.S. Oil Supply: Comparison of Weekly API, DOE Figures (Table)

The following table provides a comparison between the U.S. Department of Energy’s crude-oil statistics for the week ended March 8 and the data from the American Petroleum Institute, an industry-funded group.

OPEC

India Said to Line Up OPEC Alternatives to Iranian Supply (2)

OPEC’s biggest oil producers are in talks to supply extra crude to India as the nation prepares to halt purchases from Iran because of global sanctions, four people with knowledge of the matter said.

OPEC Producers Said in Talks to Replace Iran Oil to India (1)

OPEC’s biggest oil producers are in talks to supply extra crude to India as the nation prepares to halt purchases from Iran because of global sanctions, four people with knowledge of the matter said.

IEA Cuts Demand Estimate, Says Venezuela Oil Industry May Suffer

The International Energy Agency trimmed global oil demand forecasts for a second month amid “elusive” economic growth, and warned that Venezuela’s oil industry may suffer following the death of leader Hugo Chavez.

IEA Sees Increased OPEC Crude Output Driven by Gains From Iraq

OPEC crude output rose in February to the highest level in at least three months, with Iraq and Iran boosting production even as refinery maintenance damped demand, according to the International Energy Agency.

OPEC Producers Said to Be in Talks to Replace Iran Oil for India

OPEC’s biggest oil producers are in talks to supply extra crude to India as the nation prepares to halt purchases from Iran because of global sanctions, four people with knowledge of the matter said.

REFINERIES Map global refinery outages

Valero Port Arthur Plant Units Operating After Power Upset

All units are either at planned rates or returning to planned rates, Bill Day, Valero Energy Corp. spokesman, said by e-mail.

Husky Lima Refinery Began Turnaround Over Weekend

Husky Energy Inc. began “minor turnaround” maintenance at Lima refinery in Ohio on March 10, Mel Duvall, Co. spokesman, said by e-mail.

Valero Port Arthur Reports Electrical Fault at Power Plant

Valero Energy Corp. said workers brought operating units to “safe operating conditions” at the refinery in Texas.

Naphtha Drops to 2-Month Low; ICE Gasoil Declines: Oil Products

European naphtha falls to a 2-month low as Shell and BP sell cargoes. April gasoil drops to the lowest level in three months on ICE Futures Europe exchange as Brent crude declines.

Lyondellbasell Building More Dock Space Next to Houston Plant

LyondellBasell Industries NV is building additional dock space next to its Houston refinery after reaching “dock limitations in the short-term,” said Kevin Brown, senior vice president of refining.

Phillips 66 Borger Refinery Completes Planned Maintenance

Phillips 66 completed work at Texas plant

Valero Port Arthur Refinery Reports Flaring on Community Hotline

Valero Energy Corp. reported flaring from Port Arthur, Texas, refinery

Exxon Partially Shuts France Gravenchon Refinery for Maintenance

Exxon Mobil Corp. partially halted its Gravenchon refinery in northwest France for planned maintenance, according to a company official.

OTHER OIL MARKET NEWS

Oil Product Shipping Costs to Japan Rise 8.3 %

The cost of shipping a gallon of gasoline, jet fuel or other so-called clean petroleum products from the Middle East to Japan rose 8.3 percent to 11.22 U.S. cents yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The cost is based on a cargo of 55,000 metric tons.

Saudi Arabia to Japan Tanker Rates Rises 0.3% to 33.88 Points

The cost of delivering Middle East crude to Asia, the world’s busiest route for supertankers, gained 0.3 percent to 33.88 Worldscale points, according to the Baltic Exchange in London.

Europe Gasoline to N.Y. Seen Rising as U.S. Refining Slumps (1)

The flow of gasoline cargoes to New York from Europe is poised to climb for a third week as oil- refining rates in the U.S. fall to the lowest in two years at a time when demand is gaining.

TOP ENERGY STORIES

Most U.S. Stocks Gain on Retail Sales as Treasuries Pare Losses

Most U.S. stocks rose and the dollar strengthened as faster-than-forecast growth in U.S. retail sales bolstered optimism in the economy. Treasuries pared losses after an auction of 10-year notes drew a lower-than- forecast yield.

Obama Meets With House Republicans as Grand Bargain Far Off (1)

President Barack Obama, in his first meeting in three years with U.S. House Republicans, said he doesn’t support balancing the budget over 10 years though he wants to find common ground on revamping the tax code.

BNY Mellon Panned Over $400 Million Chesapeake Note Demand (1)

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. and a group of noteholders were panned by a judge over their bid to force Chesapeake Energy Corp. to pay $400 million in interest if it loses a lawsuit to redeem $1.3 billion in notes early at par.

Hedge Funds Exposed as Suntech Seeks Time to Repay: China Credit

Five Wall Street investment and hedge funds have the most to lose as China’s Suntech Power Holdings Co. seeks more time to repay $541 million of convertible debt.

Uranium Rally Falters on Japanese Nuclear Delays: Energy Markets

Uranium’s rally from a three-year low is stalling amid signs Japan, once the world’s third-biggest nuclear power producer, will keep all but a handful of its reactors offline this year.

SandRidge to Add Four TPG-Axon Board Nominees; CEO May Exit (1)

SandRidge Energy Inc. will add four new directors named by TPG-Axon Capital Management LP and agreed to give the activist shareholder majority control of the board if founder Tom Ward isn’t fired by June 30.

Iran Oil Exports Seen Rising by IEA Even as Sanctions Widen (1)

Iranian oil shipments advanced 13 percent last month even as the U.S. implemented new sanctions against the Persian Gulf country, according to the International Energy Agency.

China Seeking Solar Consolidation Damps Hope for Suntech: Energy

China won’t rescue Suntech Power Holdings Co. from its creditors because the former biggest solar-panel maker needs to retrench along with the rest of the industry, two advisers to government agencies said.

Exxon Sees North America Exporting 15% Gas, 5% Oil by 2040 (1)

Exxon Mobil Corp., the largest U.S. oil company, said North America may be able to export 15 percent of its natural gas output and 5 percent of oil by 2040 as the region’s production surges and demand stalls.

BHP’s Cerrejon Mine Restarts Coal Exports After Strike Ends

BHP Billiton Ltd.’s Cerrejon coal venture in Colombia said it restarted exports today after a 32- day strike ended, sending coal to a three-year low.

OTHER MARKETS

Dow Extends Longest Rally Since 1996 as Treasuries Pare Losses

U.S. stocks rose, extending the longest rally for the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 1996, and the dollar strengthened as faster-than-forecast growth in retail sales bolstered optimism in the economy. Treasuries pared losses as an auction drew a lower-than-forecast yield.

Dollar Reaches 3-Month High Versus Euro; Kiwi Falls After RBNZ

The dollar reached a three-month high against the euro after a report showed U.S. retail sales in February increased the most in five month, bolstering the outlook for the world’s largest economy.

Brazil Yields to Traders Pouncing on Biggest Gains: Currencies

Efforts by Brazil to tame inflation are providing foreign- exchange traders with the biggest returns in the world by purchasing reais with funds borrowed in dollars.

Dow Average Caps Longest Rally Since 1996 as Retail Sales Gain

U.S. stocks rose, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average to its longest rally since 1996, as data showing retail sales increased in February by the most in five months bolstered optimism in the world’s largest economy.

CBOE, S&P Dow Jones Extend Exclusive License for Options (2)

CBOE Holdings Inc. and S&P Dow Jones Indices extended the options exchange’s exclusive license to trade contracts based on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, Dow Jones Industrial Average and other broad gauges until 2032.

Zinc’s Six-Year Glut Seen Ending After China Curbs: Commodities

The first retreat in Chinese zinc output in three decades and record global demand are spurring Morgan Stanley to predict the end of a six-year glut.

Copper Falls on Concern China Housing Curbs Will Sap Demand

Copper fell the most in a week amid concern that policy makers will expand efforts to cool the housing market in China, the world’s biggest consumer.

Argentina’s Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio Is Elected Pope Francis (3)

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected as the first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years, a surprise choice that reflects the shifting demographics of the Roman Catholic faith as the Vatican seeks to leave behind an era of scandals and intrigue.

Napolitano Asks Judges to Ease Strain After Berlusconi March (1)

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano urged judges to help ease tensions with lawmakers after Silvio Berlusconi’s political allies protested outside of a Milan courthouse against the former premier’s criminal trials.

SPORTS

Bayern Munich, Malaga Advance to Champions League Quarterfinals

Bayern Munich beat Arsenal on the away-goals tiebreaker to qualify to the Champions League soccer quarterfinals, while Malaga advanced with 2-0 win over Porto.

Nike, Italian Soccer Team AS Roma Agree to 10-Year Sponsorship

Nike Inc. today agreed a 10-year contract to be the official apparel and equipment sponsor of Italian soccer team AS Roma.

Golfer Natalie Gulbis Is Being Treated for Malaria, LPGA Says

LPGA player Natalie Gulbis is being treated for malaria and will be out for at least three weeks, the world’s top professional women’s golf circuit said.

ENERGY PRICES

Last Chg %Chg Exch Contract

---- ---- ---- ---- -------- WTI Crude ($/Bbl) 92.36 -0.16 -0.2 Nymex April Brent Crude ($/Bbl) 108.52 -1.13 -1.0 Ice April Gasoil ($/Ton) 915.00 -9.00 -1.0 Ice May Gasoline (c/Gal) 313.20 -1.03 -0.3 Nymex April Natural gas ($/MMBtu) 3.68 -- 0.0 Nymex April Dated Brent ($/Bbl) 108.14 -0.97 -0.9 OTC 21 Days Heating Oil 292.52 +0.10 +0.0 Nymex April Other markets:

Last %Chg

----- ----- Dollar Index 82.89 +0.4 Gold ($/Oz) 1,588.40 -0.2 MSCI World Index 1,429.84 -0.2 Prices as of 11 p.m. GMT

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski in Singapore at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net

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