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Cheap Shale Gas Boosts Refining Profits for U.S. Sour Crudes

  • Sour crude margins have risen to the highest levels since 2017
  • Price of gas used to process high-sulfur grades has fallen

Processing the high-sulfur crudes produced in the Gulf of Mexico hasn’t been this profitable since 2017, thanks largely to cheap shale gas. 

While Europe and Asia grapple with surging prices for natural gas this winter, cheap U.S. supplies allow refiners to extract low-cost hydrogen needed to remove sulfur from the fuel made with sour crudes. That means those crude grades, which were out of favor just a few months ago, are back in demand again.