UPDATE 1-Syncrude shuts oil sands coker for 50 days' maintenance

Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:06am EDT

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CALGARY, Alberta, June 10 (Reuters) - A coker at Syncrude Canada Ltd's northern Alberta oil sands project will be shut for maintenance for the next 50 days, Canadian Oil Sands Ltd , the largest shareholder in Syncrude, said on Monday.

The company said work on the unit, part of an upgrader that turns bitumen stripped from the oil sands into refinery-ready synthetic crude, was originally scheduled to begin in the second half of the year. Plans for the shutdown were advanced, however, after an attached boiler unit was closed for unplanned maintenance last month.

Canadian Oil Sands said it still expects output from the project to range between 100 million and 110 million barrels in 2013.

Canadian Oil Sands has a 36.7 percent share of the Syncrude project, which produces about 350,000 barrels per day. Its partners include Imperial Oil Ltd, Suncor Energy Inc , Sinopec Corp, CNOOC Ltd, Murphy Oil Co and Mocal Energy Ltd.

There were no deals in light synthetic crude from the oil sands for July in early trade on Monday, according to Shorcan Energy Brokers.

But market rumors of a Syncrude production cut pushed prices higher last week. Light synthetic crude settled at a premium of $4.50 above the West Texas Intermediate benchmark on Friday.

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