May 12, 2017 / 9:35 PM / 4 months ago

Heavy and synthetic grades little changed

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canadian cash crude differentials were broadly steady on Friday, with heavy crude differentials narrowing slightly while the discount on synthetic barrels edged wider.

Western Canada Select (WCS) heavy blend crude for June delivery last traded at $9.75 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers, having settled at $9.85 per barrel below WTI on Thursday.

Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for June delivery traded at 50 cents per barrel below WTI, widening 10 cents from the previous day.

Synthetic prices have been trending lower since the Syncrude oil sands project restarted crude shipments at the beginning of May, after the plant cut production because of a fire in March.

The discount on heavy crude differentials also tightened during the Syncrude outage, as some oil sands producers rely on synthetic crude for mixing with viscous bitumen to create a heavy blend that can flow through pipelines.

WCS differentials remained tight, even as synthetic supplies returned, because of planned turnarounds at a number of oil sands plants in the second quarter.

Suncor Energy (SU.TO) has maintenance at its 180,000 barrel per day Firebag project in the second quarter, while MEG Energy (MEG.TO) said on Thursday maintenance is ongoing at its 80,000 bpd Christina Lake project.

Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by David Gregorio

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