March sees LOOP Sour crude lighter and sweeter: In the LOOP
LOOP Sour crude became heavier and sweeter in March, with an average API gravity of 29.7 degrees and typical sulfur content of 2.69%. The crude’s minimum-maximum API gravity range was 29.2-30 degrees, while sulfur content ranged from 2.25%-3.03%, according to data from the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port.
API and sulfur are two of many characteristics refiners look at when deciding which crudes to run to maximize or minimize production of particular refined products. Other factors include acidity, metals content, the presence of asphaltenes and a distillation curve.
LOOP Sour is comprised of the US Gulf of Mexico grades Mars and Poseidon and a crude blend called Segregation 17, into which the Middle Eastern grades Arab Medium, Basrah Light and Kuwait Export Crude can be delivered.
Imports of Iraqi Basrah Light crude into LOOP fell by more than half from February to March, according to data from the US Customs office and S&P Global Platts Analytics.
About 2.027 million barrels of Basrah Light were imported into Morgan City, Louisiana, in March, with four cargoes making their way to LOOP.
This represents a month-on-month decrease of 3.09 million barrels from February to March. Spring refinery maintenance led to lower seasonal demand for both imported and domestic crude volumes in the US Gulf Coast region.
Imports of Kuwait Export Crude into LOOP held steady at 1 million barrels per month for February and March.
Arab Medium imports into LOOP have dried up, however. For both February and March, no barrels of the Saudi Arabian grade made their way to LOOP, according to the US Customs data.