Canada crude - Synthetic and heavy grades inch higher

Mon Oct 7, 2013 6:14pm EDT

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* November synthetic trades at $11.75/bbl below WTI

* November WCS trades at $32.60/bbl below WTI

CALGARY, Alberta Oct 7 (Reuters) - Canadian synthetic crude prices edged higher on Monday, halting a recent run of losses, although market players saw limited scope for a near-term rebound given strong production from the oil sands.

Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for November delivery last traded at $11.75 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers.

That compares with a settlement price of $12.60 per barrel below the benchmark on Friday, the widest differential since the first quarter of 2012, according to Reuters data.

After trading at a premium to WTI for much of the summer, synthetic prices have fallen sharply in recent weeks on strong production from Syncrude's northern Alberta oil sands project.

Suncor Energy Inc said on Monday it had completed maintenance on its U2 oil sands upgrader, meaning more supply is set to reach the market.

One Calgary trader said synthetic crude found buyers on Monday simply because it was "really cheap" at current levels.

Western Canada Select heavy blend for November delivery last traded at $32.60 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers.

That compares with a settlement price of $33.25 per barrel below the benchmark on Friday.

Heavy oil has traded in a range roughly between $31.90 and $33.50 per barrel below WTI since the October trading window opened last week, weakened by a ramp-up in production from Imperial Oil's Kearl mining project.

Increasing apportionment on Enbridge Inc's pipeline export network in October has also weighed down Canadian crude prices amid worries production will get stranded in Alberta.

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