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Bakken Oil Discount Narrows as Work Will Limit Alberta Output

May 1 (Bloomberg) -- The discount for Bakken oil narrowed to the smallest margin since December before work on an Alberta upgrader that will reduce output of Canadian synthetic crudes.

Syncrude Canada Ltd. plans to start work on the 8-3 coker at its upgrader near Fort McMurray, Alberta, by May 4, a person with knowledge of plant operations said in March. Siren Fisekci, a Calgary-based spokeswoman for Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., the joint venture’s largest shareholder, said 60 days of work planned on the coker in the second quarter hasn’t started yet. She declined to disclose dates of the work.

Bakken oil’s discount narrowed $4.75 a barrel to $2 below West Texas Intermediate at noon in New York, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the smallest margin since the grade traded at a premium on Dec. 12.

Syncrude’s premium to WTI was unchanged at $1.50 a barrel. The grade strengthened yesterday from a discount to a premium, reaching the largest gap above the U.S. benchmark since Dec. 30. Western Canada Select’s discount narrowed $2.10 to $12.75.

Mars Blend’s premium to West Texas Intermediate narrowed 80 cents to $9.70 a barrel. Poseidon’s premium declined $1.30 to $8.30, while Southern Green Canyon’s lost $1.50 to $8. The three grades are used in the Argus Sour Crude Index.

Thunder Horse, a sour crude with lower sulfur content than the other three grades, decreased $1.20 against WTI to a premium of $13.

Light Louisiana Sweet’s premium to WTI lost $1.20 to $15.30 a barrel. Heavy Louisiana Sweet’s premium decreased 90 cents to $15.25 a barrel.

Editors: Bill Banker, Richard Stubbe

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Clark in New York at aclark27@bloomberg.net

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

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