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OPEC to trim shipments as demand declines

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The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will reduce shipments through to mid-February as western demand falls with the end of winter in the northern hemisphere, according to Oil Movements.

OPEC, supplier of about 40 percent of the world’s oil, will reduce sailings by 90,000 barrels a day, or 0.4 percent, to 23.72 million barrels in the four weeks to Feb. 15, the researcher said today in a report. That compares with 23.81 million in the period to Jan. 18. The figures exclude two of OPEC’s 12 members, Angola and Ecuador.

“There is still a definite reduction in crude demand from here on,” Oil Movements founder Roy Mason said by phone from Halifax, England. “In the west it’s weakening because turnaround season is round the corner,” he said, referring to maintenance at refineries in the U.S. and Europe due to start next month.

Global oil demand typically falls toward the end of the first quarter with the end of winter in the northern hemisphere. Brent futures traded near $108 a barrel in London today after falling about 6 percent in the past year.

Still, crude shipment levels are about 270,000 barrels a day higher than last year, when global demand was lower, according to Oil Movements.

Middle Eastern exports will decline by 1 percent to 17.28 million barrels a day in the month to Feb. 15, compared with 17.46 million in the previous period, Oil Movements said. These figures include non-OPEC nations Oman and Yemen.

Crude on board tankers will drop 2.8 percent to 472.93 million barrels through Feb. 15 from 486.39 million in the previous period, data from Oil Movements show. The researcher calculates volumes by tallying tanker bookings and excludes crude held on vessels for storage.

OPEC’s members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. The group will next meet on June 11 at its headquarters in Vienna.

Bloomberg

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