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Gulf Crude Strengthens as U.S. Inventories Projected to Rise

Light Louisiana Sweet strengthened relative to West Texas Intermediate as U.S. oil inventories were projected to rise to a three-month high, sending futures for the U.S. benchmark to the lowest level since June.

LLS, the light, sweet benchmark on the Gulf Coast, strengthened by 50 cents to a premium of $2.50 a barrel to WTI at 3:50 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s the highest level since Oct. 14.

U.S. crude inventories rose by 3 million barrels, or 0.8 percent, to 377.5 million in the week ended Oct. 18, based on the median of 10 analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey. That would be the highest level since June 28.

WTI for December delivery fell 1.4 percent to $98.30. The premium for European benchmark Brent over WTI rose to $11.67 a barrel, the highest level since April 15. Gulf crudes typically follow the WTI-Brent spread, because they compete against foreign oils priced against Brent for space in U.S. refineries.

Heavy Louisiana Sweet’s premium over WTI rose by 45 cents to $1.25 a barrel. Thunder Horse crude strengthened by 65 cents to a 20-cent-a-barrel premium.

Mars Blend’s discount narrowed by 65 cents to $2.75 a barrel. Poseidon crude strengthened by 60 cents to a $3.30-a-barrel discount. Crude from the Southern Green Canyon gained 75 cents to a $6 discount.

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