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Bakken Weakens Against WTI as Northern Tier Turnaround Nears

Bakken’s differential to domestic benchmark West Texas Intermediate weakened more than any other U.S.-produced crude with the approach of a turnaround at Northern Tier Energy LP’s Minnesota refinery.

The crude produced in North Dakota’s Williston Basin lost $2.75 a barrel against WTI, falling to a discount of $1.50 at 2 p.m. in New York, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Northern Tier was planning to do some turnaround work,” said Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority. “Typically when we see refineries and things go down for maintenance in the past, we see significant price fluctuations.”

The company planned to begin a turnaround at the Minnesota refinery this month, officials said on the fourth-quarter earnings call last month. The work on its No. 2 crude unit and hydrotreater will allow the refinery to process more North Dakota light oil and increase capacity by 8,000 barrels a day during periods of increased demand.

Christine Carnicelli, a Northern Tier spokeswoman in Ridgefield, Connecticut, declined to comment on operations at the refinery today.

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