* Output to fall on maintenace, upward Feb revisions
* Flotta programme yet to emerge for March
* February's total on course to be highest since June
By Alex Lawler
LONDON, Feb 7 North Sea oil output is set to
fall by at least 10 percent in March from February partly due to
maintenance at Britain's largest oilfield, which may lend
support to Brent oil prices.
Output from 11 of the 12 crude streams tracked by Reuters
will average 1.83 million barrels per day (bpd) based on the
latest loading schedules compiled on Thursday, down from 2.08
million bpd for all 12 in February.
Swings in output 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.
Brent is based on four crude oils: Brent, Forties, Oseberg
and Ekofisk (BFOE). They are set to pump around 871,000 bpd in
March, loading programmes showed, down from an upwardly-revised
rate in February of 986,000 bpd.
"The lower output in March should provide some support for
Brent prices," said analysts at JBC Energy in Vienna.
Work at the Buzzard oilfield, the largest of the fields
contributing to Forties supply, is expected to curb Forties
output in March. Supply of Ekofisk and Brent will be lower
because delayed January shipments increased February's total.
The 200,000-bpd Buzzard field, operated by Canadian oil
company Nexen is scheduled to undergo about four days
of pipeline inspection and maintenance in early March, trade
Partly as a result of that work, Forties output is scheduled
to average 368,000 bpd in March, down from a current expectation
for February of 429,000 bpd.
February's North Sea total is set to be the highest since
June 2012, according to monthly schedules tracked by Reuters,
when output was 2.11 million bpd.
Loading programmes are usually issued to equity holders
between the 1st and 10th of each month. Reuters attempts to
track significant revisions based on actual production levels.
A programme for the smallest stream tracked by Reuters,
Flotta, is not expected to emerge until next week. If Flotta
loads two cargoes in March, March's total would be 1.87 million
bpd - down 10 percent on February's figure.
Brent prices still reflect a perception of tight supply,
although the premium at which oil for immediate delivery is
trading has fallen in 2013. The first month contract was trading
91 cents above the second month on Thursday, down from $1.28 on