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U.S. Gulf Coast Oils Strengthen as WTI-Brent Spread Widens

Most U.S. Gulf oils strengthened or were unchanged as West Texas Intermediate widened its discount to Brent crude oil for the first time in eight trading days.

The spread between February-delivery futures for the U.S. benchmark and Brent, the basis for European and West African crudes, rose to $8.21 a barrel at 2:23 p.m. in New York from $7.93 yesterday.

When Brent gains versus WTI, it increases the value of low-sulfur U.S. grades that compete with West African oil priced against the European benchmark.

Light Louisiana Sweet’s premium to WTI widened 10 cents to $8.60 a barrel at 2:51 p.m. in New York, the first gain since Dec. 15. Heavy Louisiana Sweet’s premium to WTI fell 20 cents to $8.90.

Among the Gulf Coast sour, or high-sulfur, grades, Mars Blend’s premium to WTI rose 15 cents to $5.15 a barrel, the first increase in eight days. Poseidon increased 80 cents to $4.90 over the U.S. benchmark. Southern Green Canyon’s premium was unchanged at $4 a barrel.

Thunder Horse’s premium to WTI was unchanged at $6.50. West Texas Sour’s discount narrowed 5 cents to $1.25 a barrel. Among Canadian grades, Western Canada Select and Syncrude were unchanged at $16.35 a barrel under WTI and $2.55 over, respectively.

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