Commodity Market Report

North America Crude Markets November 2017: Brent-WTI structurally changed?

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Report summary

The Brent-WTI spread remains a key focus as it has remained north of $6/bbl. Could we be witnessing a new normal for pricing at the Cushing hub? Surging Permian production growth and the redirection of midcontinent crude flows are poised to play a pivotal role in pricing the US benchmark crude. Recent headlines highlighting Venezuelan crude quality issues and cargo rejection are compounding the heavy crude supply tightness in the US Gulf Coast market. Saudi Arabia's persistent reduction of exports to the United States is also restricting the US Gulf heavy crude supply. This has resulted in USGC refiners shifting crude slates to Canadian WCS, Mexican Maya and Iraqi Basrah Heavy. Infrastructure updates include an open season to gauge demand on a potential 2022 reversal of Capline. Keystone XL has gained additional producer shipper commitments, and updates on Permian pipeline takeaway projects from Q3 earnings calls show producers remain hesitant to commit.

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