Canada crude - Prices slip as maintenance looms

CALGARY, Alberta Tue Aug 6, 2013 5:34pm EDT

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CALGARY, Alberta Aug 6 (Reuters) - Canadian heavy crude prices weakened on Tuesday as oil sands production increased and traders braced for planned maintenance that would likely weigh on demand next month.

Western Canada Select heavy blend for September delivery last traded at $23.50 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers.

That compares with a settlement price of $22.00 per barrel below WTI on Friday. Markets were closed on Monday for a Canadian holiday.

Traders in Calgary said anticipation of planned maintenance in September at Husky Energy Inc's 82,000 barrel per day heavy oil upgrader in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, was pushing prices lower.

Long-awaited production from Imperial Oil's Kearl oil sands project also meant supply was plentiful.

"It's actually showing up," one Canadian crude trader said.

Imperial has said Kearl, which was originally intended to start producing in December 2012, would reach full capacity of 110,000 bpd over the summer.

Shell Canada is planning a full turnaround at its 100,000 bpd Scotford, Alberta, refinery. The refinery runs light synthetic crude that has been mined and upgraded at Shell's Athabasca oil sands project.

Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for September delivery last traded at $2.00 per barrel above WTI, down from a settlement price of $2.35 per barrel above the benchmark on Friday.

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