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Bakken Rises to Premium Versus WTI as Transport Options Expand

Bakken crude rose against U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate, reaching a premium for the first time in four months, as new pipeline access comes online and more rail cars carry oil to East Coast refiners.

Bakken strengthened $1.75 a barrel against WTI to a $1.50 premium at 2 p.m. in New York, the highest level since Oct. 16, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“You’re seeing more rail cars going to the East Coast, and that’s where the premium is coming back in,” said Carl Larry, president of Houston-based Oil Outlooks & Opinions LLC. “Rail and pipelines are definitely the keys here. As we’re heading into the summer driving season, or at least the refining season, you’re going to see a lot more of that pushed over.”

Delta Air Lines Inc.’s Trainer, Pennsylvania, refinery got its first rail load of Bakken in February. Enbridge Energy Partners LP announced yesterday that pipeline expansions to move Bakken to the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba were in service.

Gulf Coast crudes strengthened as WTI lost ground to Brent for the fourth day in a row. WTI weakened 91 cents to trade at a discount of $20.88 a barrel at 2:45 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 gained 15 cents against WTI and Light Louisiana Sweet advanced 20 cents to premiums of $22.50 and $21.85 a barrel, respectively.

Mars Blend’s premium rose by 45 cents to $17.70 a barrel, while Poseidon’s gained 50 cents to $17.65 a barrel over WTI. Southern Green rose 35 cents against WTI to $15.75 a barrel. The premium for Thunder Horse, which has a lower sulfur content than Mars, Poseidon and Southern Green, rose by 20 cents to $19.60 a barrel.

West Texas Sour weakened 5 cents a barrel against WTI to a discount of $1.45.

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