Britain's benchmark oilfield, Buzzard, becomes more reliable

Tue Sep 8, 2015 10:18am EDT
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* Average 2015 output up about 9 percent from 2014

* Fewer unplanned shutdowns than 2014

* Field plays role in pricing global oil exports

By Alex Lawler

LONDON, Sept 8 (Reuters) - The North Sea Buzzard oilfield, which plays a role in pricing global crude exports, is pumping more oil this year and operating more reliably, industry sources said, boosting supply of crude that helps underpin the Brent benchmark.

Unplanned shutdowns at the British field can boost Brent prices and lead to higher price premiums of Brent futures for immediate delivery LCOc1-LCOc2 - leading to volatilty unwelcomed by traders caught on the wrong side of the move.

Buzzard is operated by Nexen, a unit of Chinese state company CNOOC. Other field partners are Suncor Energy Inc and Britain's BG Group, which is being bought by Royal Dutch Shell.

Last year, production averaged about 154,000 barrels per day (bpd), according to UK government data. So far this year, average output has come up to about 168,000 bpd thanks in part to fewer outages, the sources said.

"Production has been pretty stable all year," said an industry source. "The field is doing well."   Continued...