* WCS for February delivery in Hardisty, Alberta, settled at $18.90 a barrel under WTI, according to brokerage CalRock, having settled at $19.15 a barrel under the U.S. benchmark on Thursday.
* Market players are awaiting a Canada Energy Regulator decision on a variance request from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which will determine whether the 590,000 barrel-per-day expansion starts operating in the coming months or faces additional lengthy delays.
* The CER held a one-day oral hearing on the variance request in Calgary on Friday and said it would issue its decision “in due course”.
* Western Canada, the country’s main oil and gas-producing region, is in the grip of a deep freeze with temperatures falling as low as -40C (-40F) in some regions.
* Global oil prices rose 1% as an increasing number of oil tankers diverted course from the Red Sea following overnight air and sea strikes by the U.S. and Britain on Houthi targets in Yemen after attacks on shipping by the Iran-backed group.
(Reporting by Nia Williams in British Columbia; Editing by Shweta Agarwal)