A price war is brewing between Canada and Latin America over who will satisfy U.S. Gulf Coast refiners’ hunger for heavy oil.
The new Seaway Twin pipeline will almost double the amount of heavy Canadian crude coming to Gulf terminals and plants to about 400,000 barrels a day starting in January, according to Calgary-based ARC Financial Corp. The shipments are growing even without the Keystone XL pipeline, which has been delayed for six years because of environmental opposition.
The Canadian supply will square off against crudes from Mexico and Venezuela that have traditionally fed refineries along the Texas and Louisiana coasts. State-owned Petroleos Mexicanos widened its discount for U.S. buyers in December by the most since August 2013. Valero Energy Corp. and Marathon Petroleum Corp., which invested in special equipment to refine heavy crude, stand to gain the most from the Canadian supply.
“Something’s going to have to give,” said Ed Morse, Citibank’s head of global commodities research in New York. “It’s going to have to be combination of Latin American countries exporting less into the U.S. or Canadian crude being re-exported and competing with crudes in other markets, particularly Europe.”