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Syncrude going offline should ease pipeline pressure

Don Horne   


Production at Syncrude Canada’s oil sands facility near Fort McMurray, Alta. is offline at least through July following last week’s power outage.

Syncrude, a joint venture majority owned by Suncor Energy Inc, with minority stakes held by Imperial Oil Ltd and others, has shut down the site’s upgrader, spokesman Will Gibson told Reuters.

The site can produce up to 360,000 barrels per day, upgrading thick bitumen to light oil.

With that production offline, space should open up for Western Canada’s oil in limited pipeline capacity, Phil Skolnick, analyst at Eight Capital, told Reuters.


That relief is likely to reduce the discount that Canada’s heavy crude trades at compared to U.S. light oil futures, Skolnick said in a note.

Syncrude is evaluating how a tripped power transformer caused the entire complex to shut down on Wednesday, Gibson said.

“We’re taking our time to ensure it’s done right,” he told Reuters.

No one was hurt as a result of the power outage.



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