Canada crude - Pipeline outage may weigh on synthetic grades

CALGARY, Alberta, July 17 Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:48pm EDT

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CALGARY, Alberta, July 17 (Reuters) - Canadian crude prices edged higher on Wednesday, although some market players said planned testing on an Enbridge Inc pipeline in coming weeks could see synthetic grades come under pressure.

Enbridge is planning to shut Line 14, a 318,000 barrel per day pipeline that carries mainly light Canadian crude to Chicago area refiners, on two separate occasions for six days from Aug. 24 and Sept. 2 to conduct hydrostatic tests.

That shutdown could see the price of synthetic grades weaken if supply gets bottlenecked in Canada.

Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for August delivery was last trading at $3.75 per barrel above the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers.

That compares with a settlement price of $2.90 above WTI on Tuesday.

"I think we will start to see more of an impact towards the end of the month. The market has probably known about that (shutdown) well in advance and people have already scheduled cargoes around it," said Martin King, an analyst at FirstEnergy Capital in Calgary.

Western Canada Select heavy blend for August delivery last traded at $16.00 per barrel below WTI, compared with a settlement price of $16.40 per barrel below the benchmark on Tuesday.

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