Heavy crude weakens, synthetic dips

Railcars holding crude oil

The discount on Canadian heavy crude versus the West Texas Intermediate benchmark widened on Thursday, while synthetic prices also weakened.

Western Canada Select heavy blend crude for July delivery in Hardisty, Alberta, last traded at $19.00 a barrel below WTI, according to NE2 Group, widening from the previous settlement of $17.45 a barrel under the benchmark.

Canadian heavy barrels continue to track weakness in Gulf Coast heavy grades like Mars sour, a market source said. The U.S. government’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve release has been weighted towards heavy sour crude, boosting supply and pushing prices lower.

The outright price of WCS was just under $100 a barrel.

Bart Melek, head of commodity strategy at TD Securities, said even with a $19 a barrel discount, Canadian heavy producers are realizing strong prices and he expected differentials to narrow in coming months.

Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for July delivery last traded at $7.35 a barrel over WTI, dipping 15 cents from the previous settlement.

Maintenance at oil sands upgraders, including the Syncrude project majority-owned by Suncor Energy is reducing synthetic crude supply and keeping prices at elevated levels.

Global oil prices rose more than 1% after U.S. crude inventories fell more than expected amid high demand for fuel, shrugging off OPEC+’s agreement to boost crude output to compensate for a drop in Russian production.

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