Midcontinent refiners rewarded shareholders with record returns in 2012 as discounted crude feedstocks from North American shale plays boosted cash flows to record levels. While the disparity between WTI and Brent crude should remain at historic levels in the near term, its never to early to look for long-term competitive advantages. In this video, Motley Fool energy analyst Joel South discusses a few midcontinent refiners and determines that the long-term winners will be refiners with access to light sweet crude, not the discounted heavy crude coming from the Canadian oil sands.  

Joel South has no position in any stocks mentioned. Taylor Muckerman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Western Refining. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.