Syncrude Rises to Strongest Against WTI This Year

Syncrude strengthened to a premium versus West Texas Intermediate for the first time in almost four months after a Canadian producer trimmed its annual production forecast.

Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., the largest owner of the Syncrude Canada Ltd. joint venture, cut its 2012 Syncrude production estimate to 110 million barrels. The revised projection includes a maintenance turnaround on the Coker 8-3 in the second quarter of the year, actual first-quarter production and “an allowance for unplanned outages,” the company said.

Syncrude strengthened $2.75 a barrel to a $1.50 premium over WTI at 4:01 p.m. in New York, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the grade’s highest premium since Dec. 30.

Western Canada Select’s discount to WTI narrowed $1 to $14.85. Bakken oil’s discount widened 25 cents to $6.75.

U.S. Gulf Coast crudes weakened as Exxon Mobil Corp. shut its 22-inch North Line pipeline in Louisiana after a spill of about 1,900 barrels of oil. The pipeline carries crude from the Louisiana coast to refineries with a combined capacity of more than 700,000 barrels a day, according to Exxon’s website.

Mars Blend’s premium to West Texas Intermediate narrowed 10 cents to $10.50 a barrel. Poseidon’s premium weakened 40 cents to $9.60, while Southern Green Canyon’s was steady at $9.50. The three grades are used in the Argus Sour Crude Index.

Thunder Horse, a sour crude with lower sulfur content than the other three grades, added 70 cents against WTI to a premium of $14.20.

Light Louisiana Sweet’s premium to WTI was unchanged at $16.50 a barrel. Heavy Louisiana Sweet’s premium decreased 60 cents to $16.15 a barrel.

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