Canada crude-Spreads tighten despite pipeline rationing

Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:53pm EST
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* December WCS quoted at $31.75/bbl under WTI

* Light synthetic quoted at $7/bbl under WTI

* Spreads still wide after mid-month apportionment

CALGARY, Alberta, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Canadian crude oil prices strengthened a bit on Monday, but remained under pressure from unusually tight pipeline capacity.

Western Canada Select heavy blend for December delivery last sold for $31.75 a barrel under benchmark West Texas Intermediate, compared with $33.25 a barrel under on Friday, according to Shorcan Energy Brokers.

December light synthetic was quoted at $7 a barrel under WTI, compared with $7.75 a barrel under.

The bulk of business for next month is done, with Enbridge Inc tallying nominations for December shipments on its pipeline network.

Prices weakened last week when Enbridge instituted rare mid-month apportionment on two pipelines that move as much as 60 percent of Canada's crude exports to the United States. It set 18 percent apportionment on Lines 4 and 67 for the balance of November.

Export pipeline space was already tight due to high levels of apportionment on Enbridge's U.S. Midwest pipelines and reduced shipments on TransCanada Corp's Keystone pipeline to the U.S. Midwest and Midcontinent following a power outage earlier this month.

Canadian price discounts should tighten for January, a trader said.

"This blowout was all due to pipeline problems. If those stop as they should, we should get cleaned up," the marketer said.