West Texas Crude Grades Weaken After Refinery Operational Issues

Texas crude grades weakened on the spot market as refineries in the state, including the U.S.’s largest, reported problems over the weekend.

Motiva Enterprises LLC’s 600,000 barrel-a-day refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, had an “operational issue” in one of its units Dec. 28, the company said in a state regulatory filing. Alon USA Energy Inc.’s 70,000-barrel-a-day Big Spring, Texas, refinery reported an upset at its sulfur recovery unit on Dec. 29, according to a separate filing.

West Texas Sour and West Texas Intermediate delivered to Midland, Texas, each lost 75 cents a barrel against Cushing, Oklahoma-delivered WTI, the U.S. benchmark, as of 1:52 p.m. New York time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. West Texas Sour was at a $3.25 discount, while WTI in Midland was $2.50 below the same oil in Cushing.

The Motiva unit wasn’t identified in the filing, though it said flaring occurred at the plant’s hydrotreaters, hydrocracker and alkylation unit.

Along the Gulf Coast, Thunder Horse strengthened by $1.75 a barrel to a $2 premium to WTI. The grade had dropped to a 25-cent discount last week from a $5.50 premium mid-month.

Light Louisiana Sweet crude gained 20 cents against WTI to a $4.70 premium and Heavy Louisiana Sweet climbed 35 cents to a $5.70 premium. Alaska North Slope crude fell 25 cents to $8.75 above WTI.

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