* Nov WCS trades at $30.60/bbl below WTI
* Nov synthetic trades at $9.90/bbl below WTI
CALGARY, Alberta Oct 9 Canadian heavy crude
prices strengthened slightly on Wednesday, although gains were
marginal as supply from the oil sands continued to outpace
Western Canada Select heavy blend for November delivery last
traded at $30.60 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate
benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers.
That compares with a settlement price of $32.25 per barrel
Canadian crude prices traditionally weaken during the
refinery maintenance season in the autumn and increasing volumes
from Imperial Oil's Kearl mining project in northern Alberta
have been adding to pressure on prices.
Cenovus Energy Inc is also ramping up production at
its 110,000 bpd Foster Creek oil sands project following
scheduled maintenance that began in late September.
Meanwhile, repairs at BP Plc's 405,000 barrel per day
Whiting, Indiana, refinery, are slowing down a $4-billion revamp
that will enable the refinery to run more heavy Canadian crude.
Traders in Calgary said although there was limited scope for
big near-term gains, differentials were likely to narrow in the
coming quarter as refinery demand improved.
"People are trying to get through this. As soon as Whiting
gets going they will start clearing the market," one crude
Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for November
delivery last traded at $9.90 per barrel below WTI, compared
with a settlement price of $10.90 per barrel below the benchmark
Synthetic grades have recovered slightly after trading
around $12.60 per barrel below WTI earlier this week, the widest
differential since the first quarter of 2012.
Rising production from Syncrude's oil sands project in
northern Alberta has pushed synthetic prices sharply lower since
the summer. Market sources said some buyers thought the selloff
was overdone, even though supply is expected to remain strong.