Canadian heavy crude oil weakened to the lowest discount in three weeks against futures as pending maintenance at Midwestern refineries was expected to cut into demand.
Plants that process heavy crude imports from Canada were said to have scheduled maintenance for April and May, including Exxon Mobil Corp.’s 238,000-barrel-a-day Joliet, Illinois, units and Calumet Specialty Products Partners’ 45,000-barrel-a-day refinery in Superior, Wisconsin.
Western Canada Select, a heavy bitumen blend, weakened $1.95 a barrel to a $27.90 discount versus U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude, said Calgary oil broker Net Energy Inc. It was the largest discount for the grade since Feb. 6, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Exxon’s Joliet refinery will shut down for five weeks of maintenance starting in mid-April, a person familiar with the matter said. Calumet said it will close its Superior refinery late in the first quarter for about three weeks of work.
Syncrude, a light grade produced from oil-sands bitumen, gained $2 against WTI to trade at a $5 premium as of 2:08 p.m. New York time, according to data collected by Bloomberg. It was the highest premium for the grade since Oct. 9.
Gulf of Mexico crudes strengthened on the spot market as benchmark West Texas Intermediate’s discount to Brent crude widened.
WTI weakened 39 cents to a discount of $19.69 a barrel at 2:54 p.m. in New York. When Brent gains versus WTI, it typically strengthens the value of U.S. grades that compete with foreign oils priced against the European benchmark.
Heavy Louisiana Sweet’s premium to WTI widened 15 cents a barrel to a $21.50 premium. Light Louisiana Sweet gained 35 cents a barrel to trade at $20.90 over WTI.
Mars Blend’s premium to WTI rose by 25 cents to $16.75 a barrel, while Poseidon’s premium gained 50 cents to $16.85 a barrel over WTI. The premium for Thunder Horse, which has a lower sulfur content than Mars, Poseidon and Southern Green, narrowed by 25 cents to $18.75.
Bakken crude delivered at Clearbrook, Minnesota, gained $1.50 a barrel to trade at a $1.50-a-barrel discount to WTI.