May 10, 2017 / 10:27 PM / 5 months ago

Heavy and synthetic grades steady

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canadian cash crude differentials were little changed on Wednesday, with heavy grades holding steady and the discount on synthetic crude narrowing marginally.

Western Canada Select (WCS) heavy blend crude for June delivery last traded at $10 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers, unchanged from Tuesday’s settle.

Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for June delivery traded at 30 cents per barrel below WTI, tightening 10 cents from the previous day.

Canadian markets are adjusting to returning synthetic crude supplies from the Syncrude oil sands project in northern Alberta, which resumed shipments at 50 percent of capacity last week after a fire in March damaged the facility.

Synthetic prices traded as high as $6 per barrel over WTI last month, but have been steadily dropping as supply rebounds.

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

Planned turnarounds at a number of oil sands plants in the second quarter are also contributing to narrower-than-usual WCS differentials. Typically the discount on heavy crude is around $14 a barrel, and traders in Calgary said differentials would like remain tight until maintenance is done.

Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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