UPDATE 1-Syncrude takes damaged unit down for 30 days

Fri Mar 9, 2012 8:32pm GMT
 

* 100,000 bpd Coker 8-1 down for 30 days of work

* Scheduled upkeep on Coker 8-3 pushed past April

* Light synthetic crude prices drop

CALGARY, Alberta, March 9 (Reuters) - A processing unit at the Syncrude Canada Ltd oil sands plant that was damaged by a minor fire last week will be down for repairs for a month, forcing the operation to push back scheduled maintenance on a similar piece of equipment, the venture's largest interest owner said Friday.

Syncrude had hoped Coker 8-1 could be restarted quickly after a controlled shutdown that followed last week's blaze, which injured two workers, said Siren Fisekci, spokeswoman for Canadian Oil Sands Ltd, which owns 37 percent of the operation.

The upgrading equipment turns 100,000 barrels a day of crude wrung from the oil sands into refinery-ready light synthetic oil.

It was determined, however, that crews will now have to "decoke" the reactor, which is expected to take about 30 days, Fisekci said.

The outage will not materially change Canadian Oil Sands' production targets for the year, she said. Last month, the company said it expected Syncrude to produce 113 million barrels, or 309,000 barrels a day, as a midpoint of its target range.

But it has forced Syncrude to push back a 45-day scheduled turnaround of Coker 8-3 beyond April. It also processes up to 100,000 bpd. Syncrude's overall capacity is 350,000 bpd.

Speculation over rescheduling that maintenance was a factor in a $5 deeper discount in Canadian light synthetic crude prices on Friday, market sources said. Light synthetic for April deliver last sold for at $16 a barrel under benchmark West Texas Intermediate, compared with about $11 under on Thursday.

 
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