Canadian heavy oil grades strengthened on the spot market for a third day, retracing declines earlier in the month.
Western Canadian Select, a blend of heavy oil-sands bitumen, pared its discount to U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude by 80 cents to $24.10 a barrel, according to Calgary oil broker Net Energy Inc. Cold Lake, another Canadian heavy oil grade, strengthened 70 cents to a $25.50 discount.
WCS has been trending lower since reaching a $9.25 discount June 12 amid supply disruptions in Alberta. The discount increased to $25.75 on Sept. 4, the widest in six months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Maintenance at upgraders and refineries in Alberta and the Midwest may reduce demand. Plants shutting for work include Husky Energy Inc.’s (HSE) 82,000-barrel-a-day Lloydminster upgrader, which processes heavy crude into lighter grades. It will shut for 45 days starting in early September, executives said on an earnings call last month.
Suncor Energy Inc. 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.
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.
Syncrude, a Canadian light crude processed from oil-sands bitumen, was unchanged at a $1.20 premium over WTI, Net Energy said.
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