Canada Heavy Crude Strengthens for Second Day Against WTI

Canadian heavy crude strengthened on the spot market for a second day, paring a weekly decline.

Western Canadian Select narrowed its discount to U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate by 65 cents to $24.85 a barrel, according to Calgary oil broker Net Energy Inc. The grade, which was $24 below WTI a week ago, slipped early in the week on expectations that output would rise and demand from refineries would drop because of planned maintenance.

Syncrude, a light crude processed from oil-sands bitumen, strengthened 5 cents to a $1.15 discount, Net Energy said.

Suncor Energy Inc. said yesterday that oil-sands production increased 11 percent in August to a monthly record of 433,000 barrels a day. Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. said output from the Syncrude project rose 15 percent to 210,000 barrels a day.

Several plants that buy Canadian crude are scheduled to halt for maintenance:

-- Royal Dutch Shell Plc said yesterday on a community hot line that it shut its Scotford refinery, which can process 97,870 barrels a day, for scheduled work.

-- Husky Energy Inc.’s 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.

-- Northern Tier Energy LP’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’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.

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