Alaska Crude Falls Most in 21 Months as Well Maintenance Ends

Alaska North Slope crude on the spot market weakened the most since June 2011 as maintenance on production wells ended and work on refineries began and as the spread between global and U.S. oil prices narrowed.

Output in Alaska’s Endicott field has averaged 10,039 barrels a day since March 19 after averaging 6,025 barrels a day prior to that this month, the state tax division said on its website today. BP Plc was expected to wrap up maintenance on wells in the field this month, Dawn Patience, a BP spokeswoman, said Feb. 28.

Tesoro Corp. shut units March 8 at its Anacortes refinery in Washington, according to a filing with the Northwest Clean Air Agency. The plant was scheduled to shut a fluid catalytic cracker and other units for repairs this quarter. The 125,000-barrel-a-day refinery receives crude from Alaska by tanker, according to Tesoro’s website.

Alaskan crude competes for space in U.S. West Coast refineries with foreign oils priced against Brent, the international marker. Brent’s premium over West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark crude, narrowed 34 cents to $13.02 a barrel, the smallest gap since July.

ANS fell $4.10, or 24 percent, to a premium of $12.80 a barrel above WTI on the spot market in Cushing, Oklahoma, at 2:10 p.m. New York time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s the lowest premium since Jan. 25, 2012, and the largest percentage drop since June 24, 2011.

Western Canada Select, a blend of heavy Alberta crudes, narrowed its discount to WTI by $1.65 to $14.75 a barrel, according to Calgary oil broker Net Energy Inc.

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