CALGARY, Alberta May 13 Canadian oil prices strengthened in thin trading on Monday, extending gains from the previous week when news of refinery restarts lifted demand.
Western Canada Select heavy blend for June delivery last traded at $19 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy Brokers. That compares with a settlement price of $22.25 per barrel on Friday.
Light synthetic crude from the oil sands last traded at a slim discount of $0.05 per barrel to WTI, compared with a settlement price of $0.65 below the benchmark on Friday.
Heavy-oil prices have crept higher over the last week, helped by Suncor Energy Inc's restarting of operations at its 140,000 barrel per day refinery in Edmonton, Alberta, and talk of oil flows beginning through BP's 240,000 barrel a day Whiting, Illinois, refinery.
One Canadian crude trader said much of Monday's price strength could be put down to thin liquidity.
"When you get very late in the trade cycle like this, there's not much of a fundamental reason (for price moves). The volume of trades is very, very low," he said.