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U.S. Gulf Coast Oil Premiums Strengthen as Refiners Boost Rates

U.S. Gulf Coast oils gained as refiners boosted rates following Hurricane Isaac, increasing demand for crude oil.

Isaac, a Category 1 hurricane that made final landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 29 shut seven refineries in Louisiana, representing about 13 percent of Gulf Coast capacity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Refinery utilization rose 4.2 percent to 88.9 percent of capacity, the Energy Department said Sept. 19. The median of eight analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey expect the agency to say this week that the rate rose an additional 0.25 percent.

Heavy Louisiana Sweet’s premium added 25 cents to $19 a barrel at 3:57 p.m. in New York, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Light Louisiana Sweet’s increased 20 cents to $20.

Poseidon’s premium widened 55 cents to $11.25. Mars Blend added 65 cents to $12.25 a barrel over WTI and Southern Green Canyon increased 80 cents to a premium of $11.30.

The premium for Thunder Horse, a sour crude with lower sulfur content than Mars, Poseidon and Southern Green Canyon, widened 50 cents to $20 above WTI.

The premium for Syncrude was unchanged at $7.50 a barrel. The discount for Western Canada Select was unchanged at $13.20 a barrel below the U.S. benchmark.

Bakken’s premium to WTI narrowed $2.50 to $3 a barrel.

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