Grades steady in thin trade after Hurricane Zeta

(Reuters) - U.S. cash crude differentials were little changed in thin trade on Monday as Gulf of Mexico output recovered after Hurricane Zeta, dealers said.

FILE PHOTO: Dust blows around a crude oil pump jack and flare burning excess gas at a drill pad in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas, U.S. November 25, 2019.REUTERS/Angus Mordant

Most coastal crude and offshore grades traded unchanged from the previous session, including WTI at East Houston, known as MEH, and Mars.

Less than a third of offshore crude oil production in the U.S.-regulated northern Gulf of Mexico remained shut on Monday, five days after Hurricane Zeta made landfall, said the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

Among inland grades, WTI at Midland, Texas, firmed marginally to trade about 20 cents above benchmark futures as takeaway capacity out of the Permian basin increased.

MPLX LP MPLX.N said on Monday that the main segment of the more than 1 million-barrels-per-day (bpd) Wink-to-Webster crude pipeline in Texas started transporting oil in October and service for shippers was expected to be available by the fourth quarter. Additional segments offering shippers further service are expected to be placed in service throughout 2021.

Worries about demand destruction continued to weigh on sentiment, traders said.

A second coronavirus wave would see oil demand destruction at about 1 million barrels per bay (bpd) in the United States and 1.5 million bpd in Europe, Trafigura Executive Chairman & Chief Executive Jeremy Weir told a Financial Times event in Singapore on Monday.

Separately, U.S. crude oil inventories likely rose last week, while distillate stockpiles were seen falling for the seventh straight week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

* Light Louisiana Sweet WTC-LLS for December delivery was unchanged at a midpoint of $1.25, trading between $1.15 and $1.35 a barrel premium to U.S. crude futures CLc1.

* Mars Sour WTC-MRS was unchanged at a midpoint of 40 cents a barrel, trading between 30 cents and 50 cents a barrel premium to U.S. crude futures CLc1.

* WTI Midland WTC-WTM rose 5 cents to a midpoint of 20 cents a barrel and traded between 10 cents and 30 cents a barrel premium to U.S. crude futures CLc1.

* West Texas Sour WTC-WTS was unchanged at a midpoint of 20 cents a barrel premium, trading between 15 and 25 cents a barrel premium to U.S. crude futures CLc1.

* WTI at East Houston, also known as MEH, WTC-MEH traded at 65 cents a barrel over WTI.

* ICE Brent January LCOc1 futures rose $1.03 to settle at $38.97 a barrel.

* WTI December crude CLc1 futures rose $1.02 to settle at $36.81 a barrel.

* The January Brent/WTI spread WTCLc1-LCOc1 was unchanged at minus $1.79, after hitting a high of minus $1.62 and a low of minus $1.93.

Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney