Favorable price differentials are leading to growing US crude exports from the Gulf Coast, which in turn is helping to fuel an infrastructure buildout that will encourage even more exports and new entrants into the US market. Crude oil exports have increased recently amid widening discounts for both WTI Midland and WTS (West Texas Sour) Midland. So far in July, the average discount of WTI Midland was WTI cash minus $1.05/b, down 21 cents from June. WTS Midland discounts over the same time have fallen to WTI cash minus $1.18/b, down 9 cents, according to Platts data. A wider discount makes grades like WTI and WTS more attractive to export. Arbitrage economics have been reinforced by a widening WTI/Dubai spread. Month on month, the swap spread between WTI and Dubai widened 20 cents/b to $1.22/b last week. As this spread widens, WTI-based crudes like Bakken become more economic choices in countries like China, providing stiff competition to pricier Dubai-based imports. The discounts are driven not only from increased production from the Permian, there have been increased flows south from the Bakken via the southern leg of the Dakota Access Pipeline—called the Energy Transfer Crude Oil Pipeline (ETCOP). These barrels have
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Source: CTRM Center