Western Canada Select discount narrows slightly


Crude rail cars in winter.

Western Canada Select (WCS) crude’s discount to the benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) tightened slightly on Friday.

WCS for April delivery in Hardisty, Alberta, traded between $15.40 and $15.15 a barrel under the WTI, according to brokerage CalRock, having traded between $15.55 and $15.25 a barrel under WTI on Thursday.

The price of WCS for delivery in Hardisty is tracking strengthening prices on the U.S. Gulf Coast, said one Calgary-based crude trader. Gulf Coast exports are climbing, helping boost demand for more heavy sour barrels in the region.

Oil sands maintenance season is also due to get underway in April, cutting into supply. Canadian Natural said its Horizon and Scotford upgraders, which produce synthetic crude, will start turnarounds in April and May.

Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for April delivery traded $4.95 and $5 a barrel over WTI, according to CalRock.

Global oil prices recovered from a brief sell-off to gain by more $1 per barrel and ended the week higher, driven by renewed optimism around demand from top oil importer China.


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