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OPEC Crude Exports to Rise on Asian Demand, Oil Movements Says

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will raise crude shipments 1.7 percent through next month amid strong demand from Asia, according to Oil Movements.

Loadings will rise to 24.16 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Feb. 19, from 23.75 million barrels a day in the period to Jan. 22, the tanker-tracker said today in a report.

“Eastern demand is driving the ship,” said Roy Mason, Oil Movements’ founder, today by phone from Halifax, England. The increase in cargoes is “virtually all going east,” he said.

Exports from Middle Eastern producers, including non-OPEC members Oman and Yemen, will increase by 1.1 percent to 17.89 million barrels a day, Oil Movements’ data show.

“It’s clear from the tanker market that the Iraqis are doing much more business,” Mason said.

A total of 491.41 million barrels of crude will be on board tankers in the month to Feb. 19, up 3 percent from the Jan. 22 figure of 477.02 million, according to Oil Movements, which calculates shipments by keeping a tally of tanker-rental agreements. Its figures exclude crude held on board ships used as floating storage.

North Sea Brent climbed to a 28-month high of more than $103 a barrel today after clashes broke out between anti-government protesters and supporters of President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo. Brent had risen more than 5 percent in the previous four days.

OPEC’s members are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Iraq is exempt from the quota system.

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