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Nexen Boosting Buzzard Oil Field Production After Maintenance

Production at the North Sea Buzzard oil field is increasing after scheduled maintenance was completed yesterday ahead of plan, according to the platform’s operator Nexen Inc.

“We safely completed the full shutdown scope on March 4, some 10 hours ahead of plan and are currently ramping up production,” Patti Lewis, a Calgary-based spokeswoman for Nexen, said today via e-mail in response to questions from Bloomberg News. The 200,000 barrel-a-day field was scheduled to have four days of work in the first week of March, Lewis confirmed Feb. 14.

Buzzard produces about half of the Forties crude stream. Forties is one of four grades that make up Dated Brent, and as the most abundant and cheapest, typically sets the benchmark that is used to price more than half of the world’s oil. The other blends are Brent, Oseberg and Ekofisk.

Pricing agency Platts, a unit of McGraw Hill Cos., proposed changes to the Dated Brent benchmark last month with the intention of lessening the dominance of Forties and incorporating a higher proportion of the other three grades. The agency’s move followed a similar amendment by Royal Dutch Shell Plc to the contract it uses to buy and sell North Sea crudes.

The April loading program for Forties is expected to be published on March 7. The schedule for this month has had many changes, with nine cargoes now set to load later than planned, four lots were brought forward and one consignment dropped. In total, 20 shipments of the grade are set to be exported this month, including one cargo deferred from February.

The proportion of Buzzard crude entering the Forties pipeline system fell to 19 percent for the week ending March 3, according to data published today on BP Plc’s website. That compares with 33 percent in the previous week and is the lowest since Nov. 4.

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