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Saudi Arabia’s spare capacity is mostly of sulphurous crude, of little use for simple refiners who need lighter grades to substitute Libya’s high-quality output.

Saudi Arabia’s solo move to boost output is widening the price gap between undersupplied light crude and abundant lower-quality oil, and will force producers to offer their heavy grades to customers at deeper discounts.

Brent, a light sweet crude benchmark, touched a five-week high above $120 a barrel yesterday. The discount for Dubai crude, the Middle East heavy sour oil marker, widened to $7.67 a barrel, the biggest since hitting an almost six-year peak near $8 in April.