Financial Post | Business

Canadian heavy oil strengthened the most in more than a month after Imperial Oil Ltd. shut operations at its Kearl oil sands project.

Operations were suspended after vibrations were detected in an ore crusher unit at the site, the company said in an e-mailed statement. The shutdown will last “several weeks” and customers will be supplied from inventories and through purchases of crude on the market, spokesman Pius Rolheiser said by phone. Imperial was producing 92,000 barrels a day at Kearl in the third quarter, the company said.

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Western Canadian Select, a heavy blend that is a price benchmark for oil-sands production, strengthened by $1.05 a barrel to a $16.10 discount to U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude, the biggest increase since Oct. 1, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“This should help support prices,” John Auers, vice president of the Dallas-based consulting company Turner Mason & Co…

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