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Heavy crude discount inches wider as surplus weighs

The Canadian heavy oil discount widenedslightly on Tuesday against the West Texas Intermediate (WTI)benchmark as growing crude stockpiles continued to exceedcapacity to move product out of the oil-rich province ofAlberta.* Western Canada Select (WCS) heavy blend crude for Aprildelivery in Hardisty, Alberta, settled at $25.50 a barrel belowthe WTI benchmark crude price , according to ShorcanEnergy brokers, compared with Monday’s settle of $25.25.

* Concerns over growing surplus in the Canadian crudemarket, with storage levels rising versus last year, are keepingthe discount deep in the near term, said Tim Pickering, chiefinvestment officer at Auspice Capital Advisors.

* The glut of stranded barrels in Western Canada is expectedto remain until a deal is reached between shippers and railcompanies to move more Canadian heavy crudes to the U.S. Gulf.

* An expected return of TransCanada Corp’s Keystonepipeline to full pressure, following a November leak, would helpreduce the discount, traders have said.

* Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for Aprildelivery last traded at $2.15 over WTI, a smaller premium thanMonday’s settle of $3.

(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Vancouver; Editing by LisaShumaker)

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