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Light Crude on the Gulf Coast Strengthens on Middle East Clash

Light crude on the U.S. Gulf Coast strengthened to the highest level in more than two weeks on concern that fighting in Iraq might curb imports.

Light Louisiana Sweet oil gained 50 cents a barrel to a premium of $6.70 over West Texas Intermediate in Cushing, Oklahoma, at 3:55 p.m., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s the highest level since Dec. 20.

LLS, the light, sweet benchmark for the Gulf Coast, is delivered to the St. James, Louisiana, storage hub, which is accessible to waterborne shipments, unlike Cushing.

Sunni Muslim fighters in Anbar province vowed to fight off an effort by government forces to regain control of towns that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says are under the sway of al-Qaeda. Iraq pumped 3.2 million barrels of crude a day in December, making it the second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Crude from the Southern Green Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico strengthened by 60 cents a barrel to a $2.70 premium versus WTI. Thunder Horse gained 75 cents to a premium of $6.

Mars Blend widened by 40 cents a barrel to a $3.70 premium. Heavy Louisiana Sweet rose 25 cents to $8.60 over WTI.

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