Heavy differential tightens, synthetic drops as new trade cycle starts

The discount on Canadian heavy crude versus the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) benchmark narrowed and synthetic crude weakened on Friday as the new monthly trade cycle got underway.

Western Canada Select (WCS) heavy blend for May delivery in Hardisty, Alberta, last traded at $11.60 a barrel below WTI, according to NE2 Canada Inc, 30 cents narrower than the previous day’s settle.

Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for May delivery dropped to $6.00 a barrel over WTI, down 75 cents from Thursday’s settle.

Oil sands crude supply is being impacted by seasonal maintenance on projects in northern Alberta. Synthetic supply is expected to be especially tight in the second quarter, contributing to stronger differentials.

Global benchmark oil prices settled lower as members of the International Energy Agency (IEA) agreed to join in the largest-ever U.S. oil reserves release.

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