U.S. oil futures fell over $1 per barrel to an intraday low of $95.04 a barrel in Wednesday's session but recovered to trade above $96 in afternoon trading. While Brent crude futures pulled back only slightly from a four-and-a-half month high to trade just below $117 a barrel for most of the morning. (Read More: Consumers Taking Financial Hit From Rising Fuel Prices)
The price differential or "spread" between Brent and U.S. oil prices is expected to continue to grow as long as the U.S. and Canadian oil production boom continues and pipelines are unable to get the growing amount of supply to U.S. refineries.
Oppenheimer & Co. energy analyst Fadel Gheit said, "The incredible growth in unconventional resources in North America — shale in the U.S. and oil sands in Canada — and lack of pipeline capacity to take oil to where it can be refined" could result in the discount of U.S. oil to Brent crude futures surpassing last year's high of $23 a barrel.