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Heavy oil differential tightens as inventories dip

Canada’s heavy crude differential to U.S. futures narrowed on Wednesday:

* Western Canada Select (WCS) heavy blend crude for August delivery in Hardisty, Alberta, last traded at $12.95 per barrel below West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil, according to Net Energy Exchange. On Tuesday, WCS for August delivery settled at $13.40 a barrel below WTI crude futures.

* Falling western Canadian inventories helped lift prices, one industry source said. Crude stocks are declining after hitting record highs of 37.1 million barrels in April.

* The government of Alberta, Canada’s main crude-producing province, eased oil production curtailments for August, setting the limit at 3.74 million barrels per day, compared with 3.71 million bpd in July.

* Light synthetic crude from the oil sands for August delivery last traded at 50 cents per barrel over U.S. crude, having settled on Tuesday at 15 cents per barrel over WTI.

* U.S. oil futures settled $1.09 higher at $57.34, paring steep losses from the previous day.

(Reporting by Nia Williams in Calgary; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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