* Jan WCS trades at $28.90/bbl below WTI
* Jan synthetic trades at $7.25/bbl below WTI
CALGARY, Alberta Dec 13 Canadian cash crude
prices weakened slightly in thin trading on Friday as some
traders decided a recent rally had gone too far.
Western Canada Select heavy blend for January delivery last
traded at $28.90 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate
benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers.
That compares with a settlement price on Thursday of $27.50
per barrel below the benchmark.
WCS rallied strongly during the week, climbing from $30.75
per barrel below the benchmark last Friday to reach a
three-month high of $26.75 per barrel below WTI on Wednesday, as
market players bet on cold weather causing production outages in
the oil sands.
Traders in Calgary said Friday's pullback was simply the
result of market participants deciding those gains were overdone
and "tidying up" positions ahead of the last day of the December
trade cycle on Monday.
The overall trend has been one of narrowing differentials
however, with Canadian grades benefiting in recent weeks from an
uptick in demand from refineries in the U.S. Mid West, said
David Bouckhout, senior commodity strategist at TD Securities.
"They're reinforced by demand from PADD 2 refineries for
heavy oil as they continue to increase their production and take
advantage of these profitable refining margins," he said.
Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for January
delivery last traded at $7.25 per barrel below WTI, compared
with a settlement price of $7.00 per barrel below the benchmark
A fire at CHS Inc's 59,600 bpd Laurel, Montana,
refinery had little impact on Canadian crude prices, traders
said, given its relatively small capacity.