* April synthetic quoted at $2-$5.75/bbl under WTI
* WCS quoted at $32.80/bbl under WTI
* Syncrude plans coker unit turnaround in Q2
CALGARY, Alberta, March 1 (Reuters) - Price discounts for Canadian synthetic crude have narrowed as the market prepares for a planned outage of a major oil sands processing unit at the Syncrude Canada operation in northern Alberta, industry sources said on Thursday.
Light synthetic crude for April delivery was discussed in a range between $2 and $5.75 a barrel under benchmark West Texas Intermediate. That compares with massive discounts that deepened to $20 a barrel and beyond for March.
Syncrude Canada Ltd is scheduled to take its 100,000 barrel a day Coker 8-3 unit down for scheduled work in the second quarter, which players take to mean April. Market sources said the work is expected to last 45 days.
Officials at Syncrude’s largest interest owner, Canadian Oil Sands Ltd, were not immediately available to comment on timing or duration of the turnaround.
The company had been expected to conduct 30 days of scheduled maintenance on another of its coker units in February, but the work went for a much shorter period than had been expected.
Last month, price spreads ballooned following an unexpected outage at BP Plc’s Whiting, Indiana, refinery, a major buyer of Canadian crude. That came amid tight pipeline space and surging production.
Synthetic differentials tightened somewhat after Canadian Natural Resources Ltd said an outage of its 110,000 bpd Horizon oil sands project would last several weeks longer than expected following an operational hiccup.
It is expected to resume production midway to late this month, the company has said.
Heavy crude discounts have remained wide. April Western Canada Select heavy blend was quoted at $32.80 a barrel under WTI, compared with $28-$30 under WTI for March business.
Discounts remain deep with space apportioned on numerous pipelines to export markets, including the Trans Mountain system to Canada’s West Coast and pipelines serving U.S. Midwest and Midcontinent markets. (Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Peter Galloway)