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Wind gusts drive up value of some barge products in Houston Ship Channel

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Wind gusts drive up value of some barge products in Houston Ship Channel

Winds at 20 to 25 mph displaced water in the Houston Ship Channel onFriday, interfering with navigation in parts of the waterway and driving upthe value of barge-borne products.

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Traders covering shorts in the barge cash markets also contributed torising differentials, market sources said.

The National Weather Service at League City near the channel said thewinds were expected to back off to 5 mph late Friday and into Saturday. Nofurther winds above 10 mph were forecast during the next five days.

Gusts beginning late Thursday deepened some parts of the channel and leftothers unnaturally shallow, reducing the scope of navigable waters. HoustonPilots said a considerable amount of water was pushed out of the channeltoward the Gulf of Mexico.

Light straight run naphtha barges at 83 API (LSR) were heard traded atFebruary natural gasoline plus 13.5 cents/gal, up 6.5 cents from the Fridayassessment. The last time LSR was assessed that high came in early February2017.

High-octane gasoline blendstock reformate was heard traded at pipeline87-unleaded gasoline plus 55 cents/gal, up 10 cents from the Fridayassessment. Raffinate traded 13 cents/gal under the basis, up 7 cents from theassessment; alkylate traded at 27.5 cents over the basis, up 3.5 cents. Draft issues did not appear to have affected LPG carriers in the HoustonShip Channel. Three vessels were docked at Targa's Galena Park, four atEnterprise Houston and two at Enterprise Morgan's Point Friday afternoon,according to cFlow, Platts' trade-flow software.

There were no vessels at Energy Transfer's Nederland terminal, althoughthe Sea Bird was waiting to enter Sabine Lake. Two vessels were at Phillips66's Freeport terminal, while two were queued nearby.

"We are not experiencing any draft issues at Nederland and the terminalis open for business," Energy Transfer spokesman Jeff Shields said in astatement.

--Jeffrey Bair, Salazar, by Annie Siebert,