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Spot Crudes Little Changed as Refinery Units Start After Work

March 18 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oils on the spot market were little changed against the benchmark West Texas Intermediate as refineries in the Midwest and Gulf Coast restarted units.

On the Gulf Coast, offshore oils Light Louisiana Sweet and Heavy Louisiana Sweet strengthened, with LLS gaining 10 cents to a $21.30 premium over U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil, as of 3:44 p.m. New York time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. HLS widened its premium by 15 cents to $22.35.

Valero Energy Corp.’s Port Arthur, Texas, refinery restarted its 57,000-barrel-a-day hydrocracker over the weekend after it had been shut since March 7 for repairs, a spokesman said by e-mail.

In the Midwest, Phillips 66’s Wood River refinery has returned a 120,000-barrel-a-day crude unit to full rates, a person familiar with the matter said. A 150,000-barrel-a-day unit at the plant is at half-capacity and expected to return to full rates within a week.

Other offshore oils weakened as the spread between WTI and Brent crude narrowed, putting pressure on grades priced off of Brent, the benchmark for seaborne crudes.

Poseidon’s premium lost 20 cents to $17.20 a barrel. Mars Blend’s premium slipped 20 cents to $16.80. Thunder Horse shaved 35 cents off its premium to $19.50.

In Texas’s Permian Basin, West Texas Sour oil strengthened by 20 cents to trade at an 80-cent discount to WTI. Magellan Midstream Partners LP said in its earnings statement in February that it will begin partial operations of its Longhorn pipeline carrying Permian grades to Houston in Mid-April.

In Canada, the prices of Western Canada Select and Syncrude grades were unchanged. Index trading for April delivery for the grades ended on March 15. The majority of the volume in Canadian grades is traded during the index period, which begins on the first of the month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edward Welsch in Calgary at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at

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