* March WCS trades at $24.00/bbl below WTI
* March synthetic trades at $3.25/bbl below WTI
CALGARY, Alberta Feb 26 Canadian cash crude
prices weakened on Wednesday after Enbridge Inc
announced further apportionment on one of its main export
pipelines and a leak at the company's Griffith, Indiana, crude
terminal forced a temporary pipeline shutdown.
Western Canada Select heavy blend for March delivery settled
at $24.00 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate
benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers.
That compares with a settlement price on Tuesday of $22.50
per barrel below WTI.
Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for March delivery
also weakened to $3.25 per barrel below the benchmark, compared
with a settlement price on Tuesday of $1.25 per barrel below
Two trading sources said Enbridge had rationed space on the
231,000 barrel-per-day Line 6B by a further 35 percent in March.
That is in addition to 10 percent March apportionment
announced last week for Line 6B, which carries crude between
Griffith, Indiana, and Sarnia, Ontario.
Pipeline apportionment can weigh on prices as it fans
concerns that oil sands crude will get bottlenecked in Alberta.
Trading volumes were muted however, given the Canadian crude
market is currently outside the nearly three-week-long trading
window starting on the first of each month, in which the bulk of
trading takes place.
Enbridge was also forced to temporarily shut all pipelines
in and out of the Griffith terminal after a leak, originally
estimated at 1,500 barrels of crude, was discovered inside the
facility on Tuesday morning.
Spokesman Larry Springer said the leak was fully contained
within the Enbridge site and the pipelines would be restarted
later on Wednesday evening. He added that the total release
volume was likely less than the 1,500 barrels first reported.
Traders in Calgary said news of the spill and temporary
shutdown helped push crude prices lower.