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OPEC Crude Shipments Surge Most Since 2008, Oil Movements Says

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will boost oil shipments this month by the most since at least 2008 as Asian refiners build stockpiles, according to tanker-tracker Oil Movements.

OPEC will export 24.32 million barrels a day in the four weeks to April 28, an increase of 5.2 percent on the 23.12 million a day that was scheduled for shipment in the period to March 31, the researcher said in an e-mailed report today. The data exclude Angola and Ecuador.

“It’s unnaturally high for the time of year,” Roy Mason, the company’s founder, said by telephone from Halifax in England. “It’s been driven by the east. It’s coming from the Gulf and could be stock-building in advance of the completion of refinery maintenance in the east.”

OPEC raised forecasts for supplies from outside the group today, echoing an assessment by the International Energy Agency that oil markets are adequately supplied. Brent crude futures have climbed 12 percent this year, trading at $120 a barrel today in London, amid concern that a tougher embargo imposed on Iran in the middle of this year will cut supply and stoke political tension in the Middle East.

Crude on board tankers will average 512.94 million barrels in the four weeks, up 9.7 percent from the month to March 31, Oil Movements said. That is the most since December 2000.

“The oil market is well-supplied,” OPEC’s Vienna-based secretariat said in its monthly report. “High prices cannot be justified by the current market fundamentals. Instead it is more the impact of geopolitical factors and a perceived shortage of oil, rather than evidence of any actual or impending shortfall, that is keeping prices high.”

Exports from the Middle East, including non-OPEC members Oman and Yemen, will rise 6.5 percent to 18.14 million barrels a day in the four-week period, according to the report.

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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