indicatorThe Owl

Oil change

WTI stronger in March

By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 2 April 2024 1 min read

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil benchmark had a relatively strong month in March, closing at a little over $83 before the Easter long weekend.*

At just under $81, the average price in March was higher for the third month in a row, up by about $4 compared to February and by $9 versus the recent low set in December.

The average in March was, however, still down from the recent peak of $89.50 set last September.

There is no way to know exactly why WTI has moved above eighty dollars per barrel, but the likely suspects include traders reacting to news of drone attacks on Russian oil refineries, a pledge to cut exports from the Iraqi government, Red Sea shipping disruptions, higher-than-expected Chinese demand, and a recent forecast from the International Energy Agency that shifts from anticipating a global supply surplus in 2024 to a “slight deficit.”

The Western Canada Select (WCS) heavy crude oil benchmark also had a good run in March. At $65.75, the average price was about $7.50 higher than in February. At the same time, the differential between WTI and WCS decreased by almost $3.60.

The smaller differential was supported by the Whiting refinery in Indiana resuming normal operations after an outage and news that the Trans Mountain Expansion project is getting closer to its first oil shipments.

*All dollar amounts are in U.S. currency.

Answer to the previous trivia question: According to Guinness World Records, the largest chocolate Easter egg was 10.39 m tall, weighed 7,200 kg and had a circumference of 19.6 m at its widest point.

Today’s trivia question: Roughly how many litres of motor oil does a typical car engine hold?

The West Texas Intermediate crude oil benchmark price averaged US$80.91 in March 2024

The West Texas Intermediate crude oil benchmark price averaged US$80.91 in March 2024

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