February 27, 2014 / 12:30 AM / 4 years ago

Canada crude - Prices fall on increased pipeline apportionment

* March WCS trades at $24.00/bbl below WTI

* March synthetic trades at $3.25/bbl below WTI

CALGARY, Alberta, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Canadian cash crude prices weakened on Wednesday after Enbridge Inc announced further apportionment on one of its main export pipelines and a leak at the company’s Griffith, Indiana, crude terminal forced a temporary pipeline shutdown.

Western Canada Select heavy blend for March delivery settled at $24.00 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers.

That compares with a settlement price on Tuesday of $22.50 per barrel below WTI.

Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for March delivery also weakened to $3.25 per barrel below the benchmark, compared with a settlement price on Tuesday of $1.25 per barrel below WTI.

Two trading sources said Enbridge had rationed space on the 231,000 barrel-per-day Line 6B by a further 35 percent in March.

That is in addition to 10 percent March apportionment announced last week for Line 6B, which carries crude between Griffith, Indiana, and Sarnia, Ontario.

Pipeline apportionment can weigh on prices as it fans concerns that oil sands crude will get bottlenecked in Alberta.

Trading volumes were muted however, given the Canadian crude market is currently outside the nearly three-week-long trading window starting on the first of each month, in which the bulk of trading takes place.

Enbridge was also forced to temporarily shut all pipelines in and out of the Griffith terminal after a leak, originally estimated at 1,500 barrels of crude, was discovered inside the facility on Tuesday morning.

Spokesman Larry Springer said the leak was fully contained within the Enbridge site and the pipelines would be restarted later on Wednesday evening. He added that the total release volume was likely less than the 1,500 barrels first reported.

Traders in Calgary said news of the spill and temporary shutdown helped push crude prices lower.

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