Faced with the possibility of tighter sanctions on Venezuela, US refiners are switching to lighter crude slates and sourcing more heavy grades from Canada and Mexico. Asian refiners look set to reap the benefit. This has implications for crude differentials in all parts of the world.
The price differential between light sweet crude oils and heavier sour crudes has narrowed as OPEC and several non-OPEC oil producers’ continue to implement output cuts. Rising sweet crude production in Libya, Nigeria and the US have also contributed to exceptionally narrow sweet/sour differentials, leading refiners in the West to process more sweeter grades in their refineries.