* May synthetic last trades at $3.95/bbl above WTI
* May WCS last trades at $18.70/bbl below WTI
(Adds WCS prices)
By Nia Williams
CALGARY, Alberta, April 1 Light synthetic crude
from the oil sands reached a nine-month high on Tuesday as
traders looked ahead to planned maintenance at the 286,000
barrel per day Syncrude project in northern Alberta.
Synthetic crude for May delivery traded as high as $4.25 per
barrel above the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, the most
since early July, before easing to last trade at $3.95 per
barrel above WTI.
On Monday synthetic crude for May delivery settled at $3.25
per barrel above the benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy
Two traders in Calgary said synthetic prices were rising in
anticipation of maintenance at the Syncrude oil sands project
that is due to start during the second quarter.
Canadian Oil Sands, which owns the largest share in
Syncrude, said earlier this year it would start maintenance on a
major bitumen upgrader known as Coker 8-2 during the second
A spokesman for Canadian Oil Sands said that maintenance was
still scheduled but declined to give further details on when
exactly it will start.
Western Canada Select heavy blend for May delivery also
strengthened, last trading at $18.70 per barrel below WTI. That
compares with a settlement price on Monday of $19.15 per barrel
below the benchmark.
Traders said there was little fundamental news affecting the
price action in heavy crude on Tuesday, which was the first day
of the April trading cycle.
The bulk of trading in the Canadian crude market takes place
during a nearly three-week-long period between the first of the
month and the day before pipeline nominations are due.
(Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by David Gregorio and Steve