Canadian Crudes Little Changed as Oil-Sands Production Increases

Canadian crudes were little changed as large oil-sands producers reported rising production and refineries took plants offline, reducing demand.

Suncor Energy Inc. (SU) and Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. (COS) reported increased output in August. Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) said today it had begun planned maintenance at its Scotford refinery near Edmonton, Alberta.

Syncrude, a light crude processed from oil-sands bitumen, weakened for a third day, by 20 cents a barrel to a $1.20 discount to U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate, according to Calgary oil broker Net Energy Inc.

Western Canadian Select heavy oil strengthened for the first time in four days, gaining 10 cents against WTI to a $25.50-a-barrel discount, Net Energy said.

Suncor, Canada’s largest oil producer, said oil-sands production increased 11 percent in August to a monthly record of 433,000 barrels a day. Canadian Oil Sands said output from the Syncrude project rose 15 percent to 210,000 barrels a day.

Shell said on a community hotline that it shut its Scotford refinery, which can process 97,870 barrels a day, for scheduled work. A person with knowledge of the matter said on July 30 the plant would be down for maintenance for most of September.

Plant Maintenance

Other plants that buy Canadian crude are also scheduled to halt for maintenance. Husky Energy Inc.’s (HSE) 82,000-barrel-a-day Lloydminster upgrader, which processes heavy crude into lighter grades, will shut for 45 days starting in early September, executives said on an earnings call last month. Suncor said Aug. 1 that it’s planning four to five weeks of maintenance on the 110,000-barrel-a-day Unit 2 at the Fort McMurray upgrader.

In the U.S. Midwest, Northern Tier Energy LP (NTI)’s 74,000-barrel-a-day St. Paul Park refinery in Minnesota plans to halt a fluid catalytic cracker during October, the company said during its earnings conference call in August.

BP Plc (BP/)’s Whiting, Indiana, refinery will shut a 75,000-barrel-a-day crude unit for 30 days of repairs starting in the third week of September, according to IIR Energy, a Sugar Land, Texas, energy information provider.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edward Welsch in Calgary at ewelsch1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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