March 20, 2012 / 8:12 PM / 5 years ago

US Cash Crude-Differentials mixed as April WTI expires

* LLS flat at WTI plus $22.60
    * HLS trades at WTI plus $22.25
    * Mars sour holds at WTI plus $14.50

    By Janet McGurty	
    NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - U.S. cash crude grade
differentials were flat to lower ahead the April crude contract
expiration on the NYMEX as trade wound down and looked ahead to
May buying.	
    Key Gulf of Mexico cash crude benchmark, Light Louisiana
Sweet , moved up to flat on Monday's level to trade at
$22.60 over the U.S. futures benchmark, West Texas Intermediate
.	
    Heavy Louisiana Sweet traded at WTI plus $22.25, down
under LLS for the first time since mid-December, according to
Reuters data.	
    "Conoco had a refinery down that runs HLS," said one trader
referring to ConocoPhillip's 247,000 barrel per day Alliance
refinery in Belle Chasse, Louisiana which returned from planned
work earlier this week.  
    HLS and Mars trade well together and some refiners will buy
one versus the other, according to a trader.
    "When the LLS to Mars spread went to $8, it hurt the HLS,"
he added.  The spread is now $8.05 according to Reuters data.
    Mars Sour traded at $14.50 over WTI, in line with
Monday's trade level.
    Bonito sour traded at up 50 cents at $17.50 over WTI. 
 "It's the start of clean-up time," said John Troland, an
independent oil analyst based in Houston.	
    "April is still part of the play but mostly folks are
balancing their positions," he added. 	
    The WTI-Brent spread settled at $18.05 in favor
of Brent. The spread settled at $17.15 on Monday.  	
    Roll period begins on Wednesday for physical traders, who
make deals against expired WTI for three days to balance
pipeline slates ahead of Friday's unofficial pipeline scheduling
deadline.	
    On futures markets, April WTI settled up $1.03 at $108.09.
May WTI finished up 98 cents at $108.56. May Brent
 settled down 10 cents at $125.71.	
    Brent and U.S. crude oil futures pared losses on Tuesday
after a report that Germany and France were opposed to an
emergency release of strategic oil reserves, according to
officials from both countries..	
 	
	
    -------------------------------------------------------	
    See for recent cash crude deals  	
    See for Reuters' generic refining margins  	
    See for the WTI front/second month spread  	
    See for front month WTI/Brent futures spread  	
    See for Reuters' assessment of Dated Brent  	
    See for Reuters assessed tanker rates  	
    See for assessed domestic crude differentials  	
    See for outright U.S. cash crude prices  	
    See for a list of U.S. refinery outages   	
    See for U.S. EIA inventory reports and forecasts

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