Dec 2 (Reuters) – Canadian heavy crude’s differential to benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude widened slightly on Thursday:
* Western Canada Select heavy blend crude for January delivery in Hardisty, Alberta, last traded at $18.75 per barrel below the WTI benchmark, according to NE2 Canada Inc, widening from the previous day’s settle of $18.50 per barrel below the U.S. crude benchmark.
* The market is holding largely steady despite the Trans Mountain pipeline being shut down since Nov. 14 because of heavy flooding in B.C. Trans Mountain ships 300,000 barrels per day of crude and refined products to Burnaby, British Columbia, from Alberta
* Trans Mountain said on Wednesday it is only a few days away from restarting the pipeline at reduced capacity.
* Western Canadian storage volumes have decreased to 38.6 million barrels from 39 million barrels a week earlier, according to the most recent data from energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie. Industry sources said it appeared other export pipelines are picking up the volumes that would normally ship on Trans Mountain.
* Canadian crude market traders are also having to take into account choppy moves in global oil prices, which impact the outright price of WCS.
* Global oil prices settled more than 1% higher on Thursday, after a see-saw session that saw benchmarks swing in a $5 range after OPEC+ surprised markets by sticking to its plans to boost output slowly.