December 1, 2016 / 11:02 PM / in a year

Synthetic weakens as new trade cycle starts

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canadian synthetic crude differentials weakened on Thursday, the first day of the new monthly trade cycle, as supply from oil sands projects in northern Alberta held strong.

Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for January delivery last traded at $2.75 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers, sliding from Wednesday’s settle of $2.35 per barrel below WTI.

Synthetic crude has been steadily drifting lower in recent months as a result of increasing production of a couple of new oil sands project expansions, and improving performance from existing facilities like Syncrude.

Amid thin trading volumes last week synthetic barrels settled at a 15-month low of $3.15 per barrel below the benchmark, according to Reuters data.

One Calgary-based trader said weakness in synthetic prices seemed to be the prevailing trend and there were a lot of barrels available in the market in December.

Western Canada Select heavy blend crude for January delivery traded at $15.55 per barrel below WTI, having settled at $15.60 per barrel below on Wednesday.

Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Chris Reese

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