Canadian heavy crude’s discount to West Texas Intermediate (WTI) narrowed on Thursday to the narrowest level since mid-November:
Western Canada Select (WCS) heavy blend crude for May delivery in Hardisty, Alberta, settled at $9.75 per barrel below WTI, according to NE2 Canada Inc, narrowing from Wednesday’s settlement of $10.30 per barrel below the benchmark.
Synthetic crude from the oil sands traded at $1.55 a barrel above WTI, weakening from Wednesday’s settle of $2.50 a barrel over the benchmark, but holding onto its premium.
One Calgary-based market source said increased crude demand as the North American economy recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic was boosting prices.
Canadian crude prices are also benefiting from more than 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil sands crude being taken offline during the second quarter because of scheduled maintenance at oil sands plants in northern Alberta.
The Syncrude plant, majority owned by Suncor Energy, started mechanical work on what it has dubbed “Project Gryphon” on Thursday, a scheduled turnaround on its 8-3 Coker and associated process units, according to the Syncrude website. The turnaround will require 2,000 workers and reduce output by 70,000 bpd in the second quarter.
Global oil prices settled above $60 a barrel despite news that OPEC+ reached a deal to gradually ease production cuts from May. 29dk2902l