January 22, 2011 at 12:10 pm #2411
Syncrude values push higher on CNRL outage
Houston, 18 January 2011 (Argus) Syncrude values have continued to trade at stronger premiums to US benchmark WTI as an investigation continues at Canadian Natural Resources’ (CNRL) 110,000 b/d Horizon oil sands upgrader north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, following a blast on 6 January at the coker plant.
The loss of synthetic crude from the upgrader has caused Syncrude prices to spike in the spot market, reaching a $1.75/bl premium to WTI today compared with a $3.10/bl discount on the day of the fire. It is now trading at its strongest level since last January, according to Argus pricing.
CNRL said last week that it appears two of its four cokers were damaged by the fire. Once it gets the green light, the company hopes to bring the upgrader up to 50pc of capacity while those cokers are repaired.
Alberta’s occupational health and safety board (OHS) is in the process of reducing the boundaries of a stop-work order that it put in place following the blaze so that it can get a crane on site to allow for a bird’s eye inspection, OHS spokesman Barrie Harrison said.
The crane is expected to take at least two to three days to arrive, but OHS does not know whether it can secure a crane that will meet its needs and it may look further afield, Harrison said.
That’s why it’s going to be a few days yet, I’m sure, before we can at least reduce the boundaries, he said.
Although the area of the stop-work order is being reduced, it is not going to result in any resumption of production at the plant, he said. No production is going to take place until we’re convinced that worker safety is in place.
He added that there is no timetable for the crane inspection, which will take as long as it needs to take. An inspection concerning the integrity of the building is ongoing.
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