* May light synthetic quoted at $9.50/bbl above WTI
* Suncor oil sands turnaround expected shortly
* WCS for May $14.75/bbl under WTI, despite pipeline outage
CALGARY, Alberta, April 1 Canadian light
synthetic crude prices climbed to their highest levels in six
months on Monday as Suncor Energy Inc prepared to take a
major processing unit at its Alberta oil sands operation down
for seven weeks of maintenance.
Heavy crude prices also maintained their recent strength
despite the shutdown of Exxon Mobil Corp's 90,000 barrel
a day Pegasus pipeline in the southern United States following a
rupture late Friday.
Light synthetic for May delivery last sold for $9.50 a
barrel over benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude, up $2.50
from Thursday, according to Shorcan Energy Brokers.
That was its highest since October 2.
Synthetic supplies in May will be constrained by the planned
maintenance at the 100,000 barrel per day Upgrader 1 unit at
Suncor's northern Alberta project site, which is expected to
begin shortly. The overall oil sands plant normally produces up
to 350,000 bpd.
Western Canada Select heavy blend for May was quoted at
$14.75 a barrel under WTI, compared with a settlement of $14.50
a barrel on Thursday.
Part of the recent strength in Canadian heavies - WCS
fetched $40 a barrel less than WTI in January - has been the
slow start-up of the first phase of Imperial Oil Ltd's
110,000 Kearl oil sands project. That has kept previously
anticipated volumes out of the market, industry sources said.
Imperial said in Monday it expects to start producing
marketable diluted bitumen the C$12.9 billion ($12.69 billion)
project in "the next few days."
Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil continued efforts to clean up
thousands of barrels of heavy Canadian crude oil spilled from a
the aging Pegasus pipeline in Arkansas. A company spokesman
declined to speculate about when it would be fixed and
The line carries Canadian oil to the U.S. Gulf region from