Heavy differential narrows, synthetic steady

The discount on Canadian heavy crude versus the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark tightened on Friday.

Western Canada Select (WCS) heavy blend for May delivery in Hardisty, Alberta, last traded at $12.75 a barrel below WTI, according to NE2 Canada Inc, narrowing 50 cents from Thursday.

One industry source said the benchmark heavy grade was back to around where it had started the week as selling from producers eased.

Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for May delivery was priced at $5.85 a barrel over WTI, unchanged from the previous day.

Canadian crude prices, and synthetic in particular, are finding support in the second quarter as annual maintenance work in the oil sands shutters roughly 5% of Canada’s crude output.

Global benchmark oil prices rose 2% on the day but notched their second straight weekly decline after countries announced plans to release crude from their strategic stocks.

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