The discount on Canadian heavy crude versus the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark widened marginally on Wednesday while synthetic crude strengthened.
Western Canada Select (WCS) heavy blend for April delivery in Hardisty, Alberta, last traded at $13.35 a barrel below WTI, according to NE2 Canada Inc, 5 cents wider than the previous day’s settle.
Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for April delivery last traded at $6.50 a barrel over WTI, up 50 cents from Tuesday’s settle.
Synthetic prices held in sight of last week’s high of $6.85 a barrel over WTI, the biggest premium since 2013, hit as traders scrambled for crude amid widespread market turmoil following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The monthly Canadian crude trading window, which lasts from the first of each month until the day before pipeline nominations are due, will wrap up on Thursday.
One market source said traders were balancing their positions ahead of the close of the trading window.
Canadian crude prices are expected to be supported throughout the second quarter as annual maintenance work in the oil sands will shutter roughly 5% of Canada’s crude output.
Oil lost ground for the fifth time in the last six days as traders reacted to hoped-for progress in Russia-Ukraine peace talks and a surprising increase in U.S. inventories.