Heavy Louisiana Sweet crude advanced to a nine-month high versus West Texas Intermediate after a government report showed imports fell.
All Gulf Coast crudes gained against domestic benchmark WTI after imports slid 13 percent, the biggest decline since September 2012, according to Energy Information Administration data released today.
Heavy Louisiana Sweet’s premium rose by $2.75 a barrel to $14.25 a barrel at 3:47 p.m. in New York, the biggest premium since April 15, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Light Louisiana Sweet crude increased $2.40 to a premium of $12.
“Even though you did have a big pullback in demand because throughput was down significantly, that said, you still had a very large dropoff in imports,” said Stephen Schork, president of Schork Group Inc., a consulting group in Villanova, Pennsylvania. “That is certainly helping to strengthen the Gulf Coast market.”
Severe weather impeded imports as fog disrupted vessel traffic in Texas and freezing cold hampered transportation of heavier crudes because of viscosity issues, Schork said. More extreme temperatures expected at the end of January are probably also supporting Gulf crude prices, he said.
Thunder Horse advanced $3.25 against WTI to a premium of $12.50 a barrel against WTI. Mars Blend, a medium-sour grade, climbed by $2.45 to a premium of $9.
Poseidon gained $2.50 to an $8 premium. Southern Green Canyon’s premium grew by $2.85 to $8 a barrel.
Bakken oil produced in the formation of the same name that spans North Dakota and adjoining states, and delivered in Clearbrook, Minnesota, weakened by 25 cents a barrel to a discount of $2.