* Dec WCS trades at $40/bbl below WTI
* Dec synthetic hits $15/bbl below WTI
CALGARY, Alberta Nov 1 Canadian heavy crude
prices hit nine-month lows, and synthetic prices slumped to an
18-month trough on Friday after Enbridge Inc said it
would ration space on additional pipelines in November.
Enbridge, whose pipelines carry the bulk of Canada's crude
oil exports to the United States, told shippers on Thursday that
it planned further cuts to nominated volumes, in addition to the
November apportionment announced last week.
Increased pipeline rationing means more of the oil sands'
fast-growing production may get bottlenecked in Canada,
prompting deep discounts, as producers struggle to access
better-priced markets outside Alberta.
Market sources in Calgary, Canada's oil capital, said the
late notice of additional apportionment in November had left
many traders and marketers scrambling to adjust.
"It's carnage," said one Calgary crude trader. "Or an
opportunity, however you want to look at it. Logistically it's a
pain in the arse."
Western Canada Select heavy blend for December delivery last
traded at $40 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate
benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers, compared with
Thursday's settlement of $37.25 per barrel below WTI.
The price on Friday, the first day of the November trade
cycle, was the widest differential since mid-January, when an
extended period of heavy discounts on Canadian crude prompted
Alberta politicians to coin the term "bitumen bubble."
The differential on light synthetic crude from the oil sands
for December delivery widened to $15.00 per barrel below WTI.
That was the deepest discount since March 2012, according to
Reuters data, and compares with a settlement price on Thursday
of $12.75 per barrel below the benchmark.
Traders said reduced demand from Citgo Petroleum Corp's
Lemont, Illinois, refinery was also weighing on
heavy crude prices. The 174,500-barrel-per-day refinery, which
runs on a diet of almost exclusively heavy Canadian crude, may
be operating at little more than half capacity for months after
a fire last week, sources say.