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OPEC Shipment Gains to Slow as Winter Ends, Oil Movements Says

OPEC will raise shipments by 0.3 percent this month as increases in exports slow with the end of peak winter demand, according to tanker-tracker Oil Movements.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will ship 23.22 million barrels a day in the four weeks to Feb. 25, up from the 23.15 million barrels in the period to Jan. 28, the Halifax, England-based researcher said today in an e-mailed report. The figures exclude Angola and Ecuador.

“For long-haul crude, the winter is over, and it’ll be May before we see signs of any increase re-appear,” Roy Mason, Oil Movements’ founder, said by telephone. “European demand in general is terrible.”

OPEC’s Vienna-based secretariat reduced its estimate of global oil consumption for this year by 120,000 barrels a day to 88.76 million a day in its monthly market report today. That means oil demand growth will slow to 900,000 barrels a day in 2012 from 1 million last year. OPEC’s output levels are exceeding requirements by almost 5 percent, data from the report show.

Exports from Middle Eastern producers, including non-OPEC members Oman and Yemen, will increase 0.4 percent to 17.37 million barrels a day in the four-week period, according to Oil Movements.

Crude on board tankers will average 474 million barrels in the four weeks, up 1.7 percent from 465.92 million in the month to Jan. 28, Oil Movements said.

Oil Movements calculates shipments by tallying tanker-rental agreements. Its figures exclude crude held on board ships as floating storage.

OPEC’s members, which pump 40 percent of the world’s oil, are Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

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