February 11, 2013 / 9:44 PM / in 5 years

Canada crude-Heavy prices ease after Regina refinery fire

* March WCS quoted at $24.50/bbl under WTI

* First drop in seven sessions

* March synthetic $1.40/bbl over WTI

CALGARY, Alberta, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Canadian heavy crude prices fell for the first time in seven sessions on Monday after the 145,000 barrel per day Co-op Refining Complex in Regina, Saskatchewan, reduced production following an overnight fire.

Western Canada Select heavy grade for March delivery last traded at $24.50 per barrel under West Texas Intermediate, according to Shorcan Energy Brokers, compared with a Friday settlement price of $24.25 under the benchmark.

It was the first drop in the price of the heavy blend in more than a week. Prices had been steadily strengthening from lows of more than $40 per barrel under WTI in mid-January as more pipeline capacity became available and Imperial Oil Ltd delayed the start-up of its 110,000 bpd Kearl Oil Sands mine.

However the fire at Saskatchewan’s only oil refinery pushed prices lower. The complex, owned by Federated Co-operatives Ltd, has reduced throughput to about 80,000 barrels per day for up to 36 hours while it investigates the fire in a coker unit pump house.

The fire occurred in a period of low seasonal demand for gasoline and diesel, however, and the refinery was only running 100,000 bpd of throughput before it broke out.

Demand is also down as Flint Hills Resources shut a unit at its 277,200 bpd St. Paul, Minnesota, refinery on Saturday following a compressor failure.

Light synthetic crude for March delivery last traded at a premium of $1.40 per barrel over WTI, up from Friday’s settlement price of $1.30 per barrel over WTI.

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