UK's benchmark oilfield Buzzard, once unreliable, pumps more in 2016
* No unplanned shutdowns so far in 2016-sources
* Average 2016 output up 6 pct from 2015-sources
* Field plays role in pricing global oil exports
By Alex Lawler
LONDON, June 9 (Reuters) - Britain's North Sea Buzzard oilfield, which helps price global crude exports and in the past was beset by unplanned outages, has had a smooth year, industry sources said, boosting supply of crude that underpins the Brent benchmark.
Unplanned shutdowns at the British field can boost Brent prices and lead to higher premiums of Brent futures for immediate delivery LCOc1-LCOc2 - leading to price volatility.
Buzzard is operated by Nexen, a unit of Chinese state company CNOOC. Other field partners are Suncor Energy Inc and Royal Dutch Shell following its purchase of BG Group.
Last year, Buzzard's production averaged 163,000 barrels per day (bpd) according to UK government data. So far this year, the average has risen to about 173,000 bpd, even though output has slowed in June because of a Forties pipeline flow restriction, sources said.
"There hasn't been a zero production day this year," said one of the sources who declined to be identified. "It's been quite a success story." Continued...