North Sea oil output to hit 8-month high in February

Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:22am EST
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* North Sea output to rise by 18 percent in February

* More stable Forties loadings help boost supply

* February's total on course to be highest since June

By Alex Lawler

LONDON, Jan 22 (Reuters) - North Sea oil output from 12 production streams is set to rise by 18 percent in February due to strong supply from the UK's largest oilfield, which may weaken a source of support for Brent oil prices.

Output will average 2.06 million barrels per day (bpd), based on the latest revisions to loading schedules compiled by Reuters on Tuesday, up from 1.75 million bpd in January.

The increase is partly a result of the return to a stable rate of output from Nexen's Buzzard oilfield, the largest of the fields contributing to the Forties crude blend, following prolonged maintenance in 2012.

"It's very promising," said an industry source familiar with Buzzard production. "Hopefully it will last."

Output changes from the North Sea can have a significant impact on world prices because the region is home to the dated Brent benchmark, used to price much of the world's physical oil and part of the underlying market for Brent futures.   Continued...