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Canada's heavy sour WCS differential lower after outright price record low: trade

Houston — The benchmark Western Canadian heavy sour crude was trading slightly lower Thursday, one day after having set a record low price on an outright basis, according to market sources and S&P Global Platts data.

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Western Canadian Select at Hardisty, Alberta, was heard to have traded at the NYMEX WTI CMA minus $42.70/b on Thursday morning, down 20 cents from the Platts assessment Wednesday.

With Western Canadian pipeline nominations due Friday, the market on Thursday is "just people cleaning up stuff with little liquidity available," a Calgary-based crude trader said. There is typically a flurry of activity before the calendar roll, after which trading will dry up until the first of December.

Although the differential has rebounded from mid-October lows, a global crude price collapse since then has outweighed differential gains and pushed the outright price of WCS to new record lows. WCS at Hardisty was assessed Wednesday at $14/b, the lowest value since Platts began assessing the grade in 2006.

Crude futures were up slightly Thursday, and a notional value for WCS Hardisty would be about $14.30-$14.40/b.

--John-Laurent Tronche, john-laurent.tronche@spglobal.com

--Edited by Derek Sands, derek.sands@spglobal.com

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