* February WCS at $33/bbl under WTI
* February synthetic $1.75/bbl over WTI
* Kearl oil sands output seen still a few weeks away
CALGARY, Alberta, Jan 2 Canadian heavy crude
prices strengthened on Wednesday as production from Imperial Oil
Ltd's new C$10.9 billion ($11 billion) oil sands
project appeared to be still a few weeks away.
Western Canada Select heavy blend for February delivery last
sold for $33 a barrel under benchmark West Texas Intermediate,
compared with $33.25 under WTI on Monday, according to Shorcan
Last month, WCS had at times sold for around $40 under WTI
as traders weighed the impending start-up of Imperial's
110,000 barrel-a-day Kearl oil sands project against a backdrop
of already-tight pipeline export capacity.
Imperial said on Wednesday that output from the venture was
possible in the coming weeks, after a delay from the initial
target of the end of 2012.
Meanwhile, light synthetic crude for February was last
quoted at $1.75 a barrel over WTI, compared with 50 cents a
barrel under on Monday.