UPDATE 1-UK Buzzard crude back after two months

Mon Nov 5, 2012 11:28am EST

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LONDON Nov 5 (Reuters) - Buzzard, Britain's biggest oilfield, has resumed operations after two months of maintenance work and is pumping between 160,000 and 170,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, trade sources said on Monday.

Operations finally started on Saturday after several delays, the sources said. Buzzard is the largest single oilfield supplying Forties, the most important of the North Sea crude oil grades underpinning the Brent crude benchmark.

Before shutting down for maintenance on Sept. 4, Buzzard was pumping around 220,000 bpd, a flow rate that was expected to be reached "within the next few days", a senior crude oil trader with knowledge of the stream said.

A series of delays to the restart of Buzzard has disrupted shipments of Forties over the last month and has led to gains in the price of North Sea crudes for immediate delivery.

Buzzard's Canadian operator, Nexen, could not be reached for comment on Monday. The company said last month it was "in the process of restarting" the field and expected production to ramp up soon.

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