* Feb synthetic trades at $2.50/bbl above WTI
* Feb WCS trades at $20.00/bbl below WTI
CALGARY, Alberta Jan 3 Light synthetic crude
from the oil sands climbed to a four-month high on Friday, as
some traders bet that harsh weather in northern Alberta could
Syncrude's oil sands operations in northern Alberta produced
an average of 291,300 barrels per day in December, 10 percent
less than the previous month, according to Canadian Oil Sands
Ltd, the project's largest-interest
Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for February
delivery rose to $2.50 per barrel above the West Texas
Intermediate benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers.
That was the highest premium since late August and compares
with a settlement price of $1.60 per barrel above WTI on
Temperatures in the oil sands hub of Fort McMurray have
fluctuated between -38 degrees C and -5 C since Wednesday and
are forecast to fall back to around -30 C over the weekend.
Market players in Calgary said those sharp swings could cause
problems with production.
Concerns about potential supply risks helped offset the
impact of reduced demand from the 130,000 bpd Co-op refinery in
The refinery, which runs on a mixture of heavy and synthetic
crude, is operating at about half capacity after an explosion
rocked the facility last week. By mid-January it is expected to
be processing 90,000 bpd.
West Canada Select heavy blend for February delivery last
traded at $20.00 per barrel below WTI, little changed from
Thursday when it settled at $19.75 per barrel below the
Suncor Energy Inc, Canada's largest energy company,
also reported December production numbers on Friday.
Output from oil sands operations averaged 417,000 bpd for
the month, down 4.6 percent from the 437,000 bpd produced in
November but above the year-to-date average of 361,000 bpd.