A planned shutdown of Britain’s North Sea Buzzard oilfield is likely to be rescheduled to November from October, an industry source said, which would boost next month’s supply of the crude that helps underpin the Brent benchmark. Buzzard’s output is closely watched by traders as the field is the biggest contributor to the Forties oil stream, the largest of the four North Sea crudes used in the global Brent oil benchmark.
The exact details of the rescheduling have yet to be confirmed, said the source, who gave no reason for the likely change of date. 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. Nexen, asked if the maintenance was still planned in October, had no immediate comment on Wednesday.
Buzzard pumps less than 0.2 percent of daily world oil supply but because it is the largest field contributing to Forties the field has a bigger impact on pricing than its size would otherwise justify. The field had suffered from frequent unplanned shutdowns, leading to volatility in prices, but this year it has operated more reliably and average output has risen to about 168,000 barrels per day (bpd) as of early September.