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Mars Leads Gulf Gains With Demand From Refiners at Seasonal High

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Jan. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Mars Blend crude jumped to a nine-month high, leading gains in Gulf Coast grades as regional refiners operated at the highest seasonal level on record.

Plants in the Gulf Coast, or PADD 3 region, processed 8.34 million barrels a day of crude and other feedstocks in the week ended Jan. 10, the highest level level for this time of year since at least 1992, U.S. Energy Information Administration data show.

Mars strengthened by $3.75 to a premium of $9.25 a barrel over U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate at 4:10 p.m. in New York, the highest level since April 5, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“You’re seeing refineries picking up crude to run, rather than just to sit and wait and hope for the best,” said Carl Larry, president of Oil Outlooks & Opinions LLC in Houston.

Crude stockpiles in PADD 3 fell 5.29 million barrels to 161 million barrels last week, dropping for the seventh week in a row.

Heavy Louisiana Sweet’s premium to WTI rose $1.40 to $14. Light Louisiana Sweet climbed $1.65 to $12.25 over WTI.

Thunder Horse rose by $3.25 to a $10.75-a-barrel premium. Southern Green Canyon climbed $2.25 to $6.75 a barrel over WTI. Poseidon increased $3.50 to an $8.25 premium.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eliot Caroom in New York at ecaroom@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net