Canada crude -Heavy and synthetic grades regain some ground

Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:35pm EST
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* Dec WCS trades at $34.75/bbl below WTI

* Dec synthetic trades at $13.25/bbl below WTI

CALGARY, Alberta Nov 13 (Reuters) - Canadian cash crude prices strengthened on Wednesday, extending a rebound from recent multi-month lows as some traders took advantage of the opportunity to buy cheap.

Western Canada Select heavy blend for December delivery last traded at $34.75 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers.

That compares with a settlement price $35.75 per barrel below WTI on Tuesday, and a 10-month low of $41.50 per barrel below the benchmark hit on Nov. 5.

Heavy grades have fallen sharply as a result of Enbridge Inc rationing more space on more congested crude export pipelines, robust production from the oil sands and unplanned refinery outages.

Some market players in Calgary said this week's slight recovery in prices could be limited, given that the fundamental outlook was little changed and problems remained with crude getting bottlenecked in Alberta.

"It's one of the cheapest barrels in the world, so people want to buy it," said one crude trader, adding that refining margins were improving slightly too.

Many Canadian crude producers are looking to use rail as an alternative to congested pipelines, but the infrastructure needed to transport large volumes of crude from Western Canada is not yet in place.

Alberta's first unit train crude-by-rail terminal will not be ready to start shipping crude until mid-December, a few weeks later than previously anticipated, the CEO of operating company Canexus said on Wednesday.

Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for December delivery also strengthened slightly. It last traded at $13.25 per barrel below WTI, compared with a settlement price of $13.60 per barrel below the benchmark on Tuesday, and a 19-month low of $15.50 per barrel below WTI hit on Nov. 4.