* April synthetic $6/bbl over WTI, nearly 5-month high
* Syncrude output down, Suncor set for maintenance
* April WCS quoted at $26 under WTI
CALGARY, Alberta, March 4 Canadian synthetic
crude prices strengthened to a near five-month high on Monday on
production rates from some of Canada's major oil sands upgrading
facilities, market sources said.
Light synthetic for April delivery was quoted at $6 a barrel
over benchmark West Texas Intermediate, up $1.25 from Friday,
according to Shorcan Energy Brokers. That was its highest
premium since October 11.
Canadian Oil Sands Ltd, the largest interest owner
at Syncrude Canada Ltd, said production from the mining and
synthetic crude processing venture fell 13.5 percent to 240,000
barrels a day in February. That is down from capacity rates of
about 350,000 bpd.
Meanwhile, maintenance on a hydrogen plant at Suncor Energy
Inc's Northern Alberta oil sands facility is set to
start by the end of this month, market sources said. The planned
14-week shutdown will lower output from Upgrader 1, one of two
plants that convert mined bitumen into synthetic crude.
The company also expects to start a full shutdown of
Upgrader 1 in the second quarter. Lasting seven weeks, the
maintenance will curtail the unit's 100,000 bpd of synthetic
Heavy crude prices also strengthened on Monday. April
Western Canada Select last sold for $26 a barrel under WTI,
compared with $28 under on Friday.