U.S. Gulf crudes strengthened as the discount for West Texas Intermediate versus Brent widened for a second day, making imports more expensive and domestic grades more attractive.
The gap between WTI, the U.S. benchmark, and Brent, its more expensive European counterpart, widened 31 cents to $2.12 a barrel as of 3:42 p.m. Cargoes from Europe and West Africa are purchased at a premium or discount to Brent.
Poseidon’s discount to WTI narrowed 40 cents to $2 a barrel, according to data compiled by Bloomberg at 2:10 p.m. New York time. The grade added $2.98 to $84.69 a barrel.
Mars Blend’s discount tightened 30 cents to 90 cents versus WTI, while the grade rose $2.88 to $85.79.
Thunder Horse’s premium widened 15 cents to $1.35 a barrel in New York, while the grade gained $2.73 to $88.04 a barrel. Southern Green Canyon’s discount narrowed 30 cents to $2.30, while the grade added $2.88 to $84.39 a barrel.
Light Louisiana Sweet’s premium advanced 15 cents to $4.40 a barrel, as the grade rose $2.73 to $91.09. Heavy Louisiana Sweet’s premium rose 5 cents to $3.35 a barrel, as the grade climbed $2.63 to $90.04 a barrel.
West Texas Sour’s discount widened 20 cents to $2.60 a barrel. The grade gained $2.38 to $84.09.
Most spreads widened although inventories of crude oil held in states along the U.S. Gulf Coast climbed 1.5 percent to 184.3 million barrels last week, according to a report today from the Energy Department. The gain was the first in a month.
The increase came as refineries in the U.S. operated at 82.6 percent of capacity during the week ended Nov. 26, down from 85.5 percent the previous week.