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West Texas Sour Weakens as El Paso Refinery Reduces Crude Runs

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Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- West Texas Sour weakened against the U.S. benchmark crude as Western Refining Inc.’s El Paso plant in Texas reduced production after an unplanned outage on a fluid catalytic cracker.

The malfunction occurred Dec. 14 on the south side of the 128,000-barrel-a-day plant, Gary Hanson, a Tempe, Arizona-based spokesman for the company, said by e-mail. The refinery should be back to full capacity this weekend.

The plant processes both benchmark West Texas Intermediate and West Texas Sour crudes, according to Western’s website.

WTS, a light, high-sulfur grade loaded in Midland, Texas, weakened $2.75 to a discount of $18 a barrel to WTI in Cushing Oklahoma, at 3:58 p.m. New York time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s the largest spread since Nov. 21.

West Texas Intermediate in Midland weakened 75 cents to a $14.25-a-barrel discount to the U.S. benchmark crude in Cushing.

Canadian crudes strengthened against the U.S. benchmark as Exxon Mobil Corp. finished planned maintenance on the Pegasus pipeline system.

Amber Gardner, an Exxon spokeswoman based in Houston, said station work had been completed along the 96,000-barrel-a-day line, which carries crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast from Patoka, Illinois. The pipeline was shut during the maintenance, which began Dec. 6, a person with knowledge of the work said Nov. 14.

West Canada Select’s discount to WTI narrowed $2 to $33 a barrel. The price reflects Canadian crude on the spot market for February delivery.

Syncrude, a light, sweet oil made from upgraded bitumen in Canada, strengthened $1.50 to a $1-a-barrel premium over WTI.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Murtaugh in Houston at dmurtaugh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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