U.S. Gulf Oil Premiums Widen as Cushing Discount Steady at $14

U.S. Gulf crude premiums strengthened as the benchmark West Texas Intermediate, priced in Cushing, Oklahoma, held steady at about $14 compared with its European counterpart.

The gap between April-delivery WTI futures and Brent, the basis for European and West African crudes, narrowed 2 cents to $14.06 at 1:31 p.m. in New York. The differential settled at a record $15.94 Feb. 16.

When Brent is higher than WTI, it strengthens the value of low-sulfur U.S. grades that compete with West African oils priced against Brent. The spread averaged 63 cents in 2010.

Light Louisiana Sweet’s premium widened 75 cents to $19.75 a barrel at 12:12 p.m. in New York, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Heavy Louisiana Sweet’s premium to WTI also strengthened 75 cents, to $19.50.

Among Gulf Coast sour, or high-sulfur, grades, Mars Blend’s premium to WTI strengthened $2 to $15 a barrel, while Poseidon’s premium widened $1.65 to $15.25 over the benchmark.

Thunder Horse’s premium to WTI strengthened 25 cents to $18.25. Southern Green Canyon’s discount narrowed $1.80 a barrel to $14 a barrel.

West Texas Sour’s discount widened 25 cents to $3.75. WTS is delivered in Midland, Texas, so its price is less influenced by imports.

Syncrude’s premium gained $1.15 to $8.15 a barrel. Syncrude is a light, low-sulfur synthetic oil derived from the tar sands in Alberta. The discount for Western Canada Select widened 25 cents to $26.25.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP’s Platte oil pipeline system was oversubscribed in March between Guernsey, Wyoming, and Wood River, Illinois, resulting in a 53-percent apportionment, the company said yesterday in an e-mail. The pipeline’s capacity will be about 170,000 barrels a day, Kinder said.

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