May 1, 2017 / 3:47 PM / 7 months ago

Syncrude resumes shipments from Mildred Lake oil sands upgrader

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - The Syncrude Canada oil sands project has started shipping crude from its Mildred Lake upgrader again after cutting production as a result of a fire at the plant in mid-March, majority-owner Suncor said on Monday.

Shipments are currently at 140,000 barrels per day and are expected to ramp up as maintenance on other units wraps up, Suncor said in a statement.

Production is expected to return to full rates of around 350,000 bpd in June, Suncor said, which is in line with its previous forecasts.

Syncrude was forced to cut output and bring forward planned maintenance after the March 14 fire damaged the facility, which upgrades mined bitumen into refinery-ready synthetic crude.

The outage sent Canadian crude prices lurching higher as result of tight supply.

Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for June delivery last traded at $1.80 per barrel over the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers.

That was little changed from Friday’s settle of $1.75 per barrel over WTI, but well below the premium of around $6.00 per barrel that synthetic hit last month.

Western Canada Select heavy blend crude for June delivery last traded at $8.95 per barrel below WTI, have settled at $9.20 per barrel under the benchmark on Friday.

Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Andrew Hay

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